So I finally get to talk about how wonderful this EP is, I have had it for nearly two months now and have played it a lot! As I mentioned in my last post Stylusboy (A.K.A. Steve Jones) contacted me and got me to check out his website and obviously what he was doing musically. Since then I have been invariably hooked and transfixed by this guys beautiful songwriting.
The EP is opened with the title track ‘Whole Picture’ which is probably one of the catchiest songs I have heard this year. A stunning composition with simple but affecting moments that come and just sweep you off your feet. It’s a perfect example of the kind of magic Stylusboy likes to sprinkle over anything that he does. ‘Beyond The Flags’ with it’s big roaring charm is doused in tinkering banjo and xylophone. I know Stylusboy classes himself as Folk Pop but there are some Country/Bluegrass moments in there too, Beyond The Flags being one of them. A summery “rally of the troops” energy to it that sends big thrills running right through your whole body.
Stylusboy slows things down with ‘Left To Hide’ and really tugs at the heart strings on this one. He powerfully sings “close your eyes push it all outside, there’s no where left to hide, lift your face underneath the sun, there’s no where left to hide” to heartwarming effect. Dazzling harmonies and packed with scores of glorious string sections that empower the whole song and capture your imagination. ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ is not one of his but was written by one of his favourite singer/songwriters, Andy Mort, who he says is a ‘one man’s Radioheads Kid A’. Packed full again of that Country music punch that I mentioned before, with driving acoustic guitar and just little touches of enchantment. The EP finishes on what is probably the most touching moment on this release. Entitled ‘Dave’s Song’, Steve tells me its a song he wrote when he found out one of his friends did not have long to live. He seems at his most vulnerable and you get the impression he is wrought with conflicting emotions. “This is not the end, it’s just the start from a different place” echoes his sentiment and just fills you with sadness and warmth all at the same time.
‘Whole Picture’ is six songs of pure joy and pleasure that you could seriously not listen to anything else ever again and you would be happy. It has me beaming from ear to ear everytime I hear it, with moments of delight that cannot be ignored. I am in awe of what Stylusboy has produced with ‘Whole Picture’ and for that he has my undivided attention.