Play On | Moon Songs by Chris Belson

Wednesday, January 06, 2016 4 Comments A+ a-

I couldn't be happier with my choice to open this section of the blog. I remember the first time I've listened to Chris Belson live and he absolutely blew my mind. I was hypnotised by his voice. We were at the legendary Half Moon, in Putney - where the likes of The Who, U2 and Rolling Stones have played before - for the May Fix Festival when Chris went on stage to take our breath away. It was simply mesmerising. So here we are, a few months later, starting Play On with his first EP Moon Songs, being released by Laid Bare Records this month, on the 14th. 

With a deep and soothing voice, Chris introduces us to his music with Children, a song which will have you swaying to the chorus. It is a brilliant snippet of Chris' songwriting. The images in his lyrics are like beautiful paintings, and they draw you in to this world of peace and quiet.

His gentle guitar in songs such as Come to the Window is subtle but carefully arranged. It highlights the uniqueness of Chris' voice. Yes, there is something about it which reminds us of Elvis Presley, but the combo of influences ranging from jazz and soul, to folk, alt-country and indie-pop makes Moon Songs a very contemporary album.

Dogs reminds us of Mumford & Son's first album, Sigh No More, both in terms of melody and lyrics. It is not just yet presented in a super elaborate arrangement, Chris keeps it simple and introspective, but you can also picture it being played by a full on band, with double bass & metals, on a big festival stage. The Planets Align, the first single, is best defined as a cheeky song. It is definitely the most upbeat track, but does not lose the beautiful rawness so present across all of Moon Songs.

Last but not least, Without You Again sad piano intro by James Spinney will give you goose bumps and if that's not enough, wait until Chris starts to sing. This is not necessarily a lullaby, but as with Radiohead's No Surprises, the rhythmical patterns have you closing your eyes and being completely transported somewhere else. There is no better song in this EP to illustrate what I meant by being hypnotised.

There is so much beauty in the simplicity of an act like Chris Belson: a one man band sitting shyly on a stool with only his acoustic guitar to keep him company, but completely owning the stage. If you're in London, do not miss his EP launch next week, Thursday 14th January @ Upstairs At The Ritzy (Brixton Road, London SW2 1JG). Free entry


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