Rating: ★★★★☆

As technology advances on a day-to-day basis, it is surprising to hear of a release primarily on vinyl – but this is exactly what’s happening here. In early May, 250 copies of Clapped Out by Flat Ed will be distributed from a pre-order to those traditionalists who live for the warm sounds from the needle. But what is the album all about?

The debut begins with an astonishing strong introduction in 24 Hours. The song is straight in setting its folk routes and making a mark with Ed’s distinct voice. With a hard setting melody and rhythm, it sets a high standard for what is to follow.

Having only known about Flat Ed for a matter of weeks, I kept an open mind in listening to the soon-to-be-release however the second song was a bit strange on first impressions. It took an almost electropop approach to folk which didn’t quite work but the short piece of music is soon taken over by Funny which takes my mind to basement jazz clubs as the flowing bass and scattered piano melodies ride across a delightful drum beat. Ed’s voice reflects on the mood of the song and with the addition of clean electric guitar, in a minimalistic approach, the song is a dream to listen to.

The songs that follow are Late Autumn Walk and Scapegoat. While the first is a slow and minimalistic song, the second takes back jazz influences it seems and while a little quicker in tempo, is lyrically beautifully and reflects on more mellow attitudes. Scapegoat has an aromatic sense to it which is totally desirable, before leading into In Any Bottle. It has near psychedelic sounds but ultimately flows from what has already come round on the album.

Growing Crows, the seventh song, has an intro you think you’ve already heard before leading into what you could call a Beatle influenced song. With a vocal sound similar to that of the early-pop era, its a wonderfully retro song that brings out the best of Eds ideas. Sister School is unfortunately a monotonous and somewhat repetitive song that appears to loop the same melodies and lyrics throughout, despite it having the usual structure in most songs ever written. It comes across almost too laid back and its not something that fits the other songs at all. Upstairs to Bed is possibly the nearest to mainstream as you will find on Clapped Out. It opens with open drums and a dirty bass line, sounding like something you might find by the likes of Elbow but distorted vocals and electric sounds change that slightly, but thinking about it as a late interlude, the song fits perfectly despite the repetitive lyrics and melodies. It leads directly into the closing song, Concrete.

It’s slower and more mellow than what we’ve heard already and is built predominantly from piano melodies. It has purposely flat notes which add a slightly different texture to what it would sound like otherwise, giving it a new sense of direction. If put behind an intimidating video, it would serve good as a nightmarish song but could also be seen as romantic given the right visuals. The song opens out to individual thoughts and somehow allows you to build your own image of what the song is about.

While none of what’s on offer is jump-out exciting as most youngsters want in their music, it is however something that reflects on the ever-changing industry. It takes the better sounds of early-pop and the roots of folk and marries them in this wonderful, almost indie-like album. Listening to the playlist on offer, your ears are met with something different to anything you can pick up from the radio or television, or what is mainstream and well, everywhere. This breaks that mould, challenging your sense of change, and wins.

To find out more about Flat Ed, visit his Band Camp profile here.


Artist:  Flat Ed
Release Name:  Clapped Out
Type:  Album
Date:  2013, June 21st
Purchase Link:  http://flated.bandcamp.com
Artist Info:  http://flated.bandcamp.com

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