“We are Some Kind Of Illness a three piece alternative indie band formed in Manchester, England. We combine alternative indie songwriting with an atmospheric, reverberant backbone to create a sound described as “calming” and “beautiful” :)”
Paul Hinks (vocals/guitar) from the band approached me to review their latest self-titled album and I jumped at the chance, as at first glance their music description is something unique and something I’d enjoy listening to and reviewing. Check it out below.
Some Kind of Illness’s self titled album’s first song, the introduction so to speak, is The Test of Time. The song builds up a harmonic guitar/synth sound, which is very pleasant on the ears and is further added to by a nice acoustic guitar chord progression. Vocals come in not long after with an echo effect, which suits the overall sound that has built up so far. The song gets further “dreamy” as the song reaches the mid-point. The vocals trail off as if the singer has strolled off down a long corridor encouraging us listeners to perhaps follow and join him on a journey. A bit profound perhaps, but being an imaginative one, I like this idea and I shall indeed follow.
As we reach the next checkpoint in our journey, a sound sample plays while the music blends seamlessly from one song to another. Angel Breakdown uses the aid of a sound recording to furthermore push across to us a deeper meaning to their songs. As the song crosses the mid-point we are welcomed by a serene interlude, maybe to reflect on the meaning of the sound recording. Softly strummed acoustic and tranquil guitar riffs guide us through the remainder of the song to the end..
Third song Stars starts afresh from previous songs and goes straight into a new sound; harder strummed acoustic, which leads quite quickly to the vocals. There’s a certain kind of raw-ness in the un-altered vocals, save for a minor echo. This adds emphasis to the words spoken. Its an intimate song, full of emotion and meaning. Overall, its a tranquil, intimate acoustic number, helped along with some subtle sound effects in the background. An enjoyable piece, which further carries us onward on this journey.
From the title of the next song, Some Kind of Illness brought in a singer to help them record the next track. Maple Leaf feat Daisy Davies starts off with tranquil echo acoustic and synth, which builds up to the vocals by Daisy and it becomes apparent, Daisy is a little girl probably around 4, who is stepping up to the microphone for this number reciting the lyrics. The vocals are given a grand sense of innocence not often heard of in recorded song. The use of a young girl to put across this feeling of innocence is a master stroke in itself. It suits the instrumental very well, which comes across as a very innocent sound itself. Not much is sung, but the song needn’t be full of vocals. The message has been sent and its time for us to move on.
The Light, the bands next song, starts of with a lively fresh sounding acoustic. Its one of the more upbeat songs of the album in a well-placed position giving a gentle nudge to the listener and not making them complacent. The light is a message to someone who thinks they know it all, that’s clear. A message in a non-angst form sung un-hindered by effects thus giving it impact to flow alongside a well strummed guitar.
Another cinematic excerpt welcomes us and although its hard to despyher what is being said. However, we don’t need to…it sets the mood. And Live features experimental usage by the band who use these cinematic samples placed throughout the album to add to the instrumentals and sound they produce. Its effective to say the least and you feel lost in the mood of the song and lose track of the time with no vocals to separate, apart from that of the sound sample. Before you know it, its the next song…
Atmospheric synth, piano and happy sounding plucked/strummed acoustic greets us next in You Have to Laugh. All three sounds are pleasing on the ear and build up to the introduction of a nice beat, which doesn’t overpower any of the music surrounding it, but compliments it. A nicely place instrumental.
My Shadow in the Maze, the next song, is another great atmospheric song. A deep and emotive song to say the least; one to contemplate on as you listen to its metaphorical undertones, which leaves us listeners to derive the true meaning behind it all. Perhaps the singer/writer feels he has lost a part of himself as he goes through the maze trying to find love…. he is not the only one either that this has happened to. The song concludes with the singer stating he “finally made it out”, The songs contains a story, one which is simple and deep.
Rush to Wait is definitely not in a rush to the finish line of the album, but provides further great ear candy with atmospheric acoustic guitar and haunting synth. An perfect interlude to conclude the album all in all.
Bonus, we are given another song. Fool Man Runaway starts of with somber acoustic and occasional piano, with what could possibly rain in the background. This track like before makes good use of the echo effect of the vocals and guitar. The use of the piano to brighten up the song is welcomed here. I don’t feel there was enough of it throughout the album however. The piano, as heard here, is a true emotive instrument one which I’d like to see the band use more in future releases.
If there ever was an album to listen to in a relaxing path or to just escape reality this is it. SKOI’s mission here was simple, to take us on a journey. The light and shade of the songs provide the backdrop and the lyrics throughout provide the listeners with the narrative. The album fed my imagination and overall, it was a great listen with its emotional vocals and well spaced instrumental interludes.