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Album Review: Michael Lee – Face Forward

3 min read

Originating from the depths of Longwick, England, singer/songwriter Michael Lee proves that even from the quietest places in the world, talent finds its way out and this is proven by the musician, who cites credible key players in the industry such as Sting, Jeff Buckley and US rock band Incubus as major influences.

MichaelLeeFaceForwardWith this vast array of inspiration the singer paints his own canvas of textures and musical colors on his re-released debut album, Face Forward, which saw its release this month through Crash Records.

Originally, though limited copies were made available, the record was released in 2009 but a new year calls and so does the records release to a wider audience and thankfully the decision was made because Face Forward is a collection of some truly inspiring, well crafted pieces of folk laced, indie that would serve an injustice to be shadowed from the limelight it rightfully deserves.

With his influences including someone as prolific and distinctive as Jeff Buckley, it’s no doubt that the record was created in similar style. Incubus is also present particularly with Lee’s voice resonating quite closely to that Incubus front man, Brandon Boyd.

The multi-instrumentalist starts the record off with Land Of Change, an echoed, mid tempo number that shows hints of Americana along with some impressive, sliding guitar work and the opening number really showcases Lee’s unblemished vocals as they swing from deep and sombre up to some impressive falsetto peaks.

Some gentle guitar riffs make way to Despite which provides a leisurely number for the first half of the record.  With a swaying and eerie chorus that is as complimenting as the tracks fantastic guitar solo, we are given a preview of Lee’s ability to write emotive and heart rendering ballads.

Tired is a lovely yet slightly bubblegum pop addition to the record. The strings section that provides the backdrop to the track are superbly placed and the song goes on to win me over as the best on the album. The harmonious vocals hum throughout the track and if that wasn’t enough to pull you into the eloquence of the song we are treated to some beautiful piano tinkering that really show the songs potential as a future chart hit before the song closes to the resonating sound of violins.

The placid Mystery of Life gives us a gentle acoustic ballad while Distant Future offers a dose of bluegrass brilliance with both songs delicately delivering some spectacular hooks with the latter proving to be one of the records lyrically, carefree gems.

Showing the records diversity we are also offered an instrumental of crashing drums, atmospheric guitar wailing and piano work on the albums title track as the record draws closer to the end.

Face Forward not only proves that Michael Lee is a man who can play and sing flawlessly but someone who can also construct a contrasting and varied body of work which has real radio appeal with its undated sound.

The collection of songs featured on Face Forward draw in a range of genres from pop and indie  through to folk and funk rock as well as alternating between uptempo gems and melancholic ballads with ease.

A superb release for the singer/songwriter who will be making waves on the music scene over the coming months with this fulfilling release.