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EP REVIEW: Lewis Mckale, The Bigger Picture

lewismckaleepTITLE: The Bigger Picture
ARTIST: Lewis Mckale
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: June 17th 2013

Brighton based actor and part time singer-songwriter Lewis Mckale recently contacted me to let me know about his recent EP The Bigger Picture. It’s his second EP after his first My Father’s Son was released in November 2011. I was surprised to read that music is Lewis’ side project next to acting, as he seems to have a real flair for it. There’s no trace of an amateur hobbyist here as he has such a professional recording voice.

After gaining a childhood interest in music from his father, he began his music career in many failed bands. Lewis decided to go it alone and has since gained inspiration from the likes of acoustic master Frank Turner. His determination and personality to make a name for himself really comes through in his music and he states himself that he is here to prove everyone wrong.

lewismckaleThe Bigger Picture begins with its title track, a gentle folksy pop number. Slow strumming begin while Lewis’ high, misty vocals melt over the top. There’s a definite quirky folk influence in the sound which is really appealing as is the simple acoustic approach. A touch of Ed Sheeran is present but Lewis is much more edgy. When a piano enters, there is a different layer and another is added with the pretty chimes towards the end. I detect a lot of memories being dragged up in the broken pictures and reminiscing, which gives it a doleful tone.

Those Were The Days is the real nostalgia fest with its chilled indie intro and “live for the moment” message. The folk thread takes on a Parisian theme with the harmonica making an appearance. The vocals are slightly nasal but really show off his distinctive voice. It’s a simple melody in a sweet acoustic pop song that is so well executed.

Prove You Wrong is definitely my favourite track on the EP and it’s the one that I think best defines Lewis. There’s a taste of country in the riff and a focus on the passionate vocals. It has a busker feel to it and I can imagine a really talented street performer giving an awesome rendition of it in a tube station. It’s very stripped back and beautiful with the mantra of doing what you want to do even when facing adversity. Lewis’ vocal licks are at their best on this track and he does some tricks that make you stop and think “wow”.

Ending on (Don’t) Forget Who You Are, a relaxed acoustic number with a slow pop beat. Lewis’ melodic drawls are back and there is such a pure quality to his voice that is addictive by this point in the record. The riff has a rolling clear tone in the background of the lyrics which are about not changing for anyone and staying true to yourself.

I love the clear, defiant messages in Lewis’ songs. They’re all such wise words and you can tell that they’re lessons he has learnt during his life that he wants to pass on. Considering this EP is from a side project, it’s a really catchy and beautiful effort which is sometimes thought-provoking and inspiring.

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