Ferraby Lionheart – s/t EP

There are so many artists out there that cite such influences as Elliot Smith, The Beetles or Rufus Wainwright and oftentimes, sadly, their music is just a cheap knock off. Perhaps their layered vocals sound pleasant to the ear and their guitars are strummed as well as the next guy but what they lack is personality and at least a slight twist that gives their music that dash of something extra that sets them apart. Being a singer-songwriter is rough these days and with so many mediocre artists out there, it can be difficult to wade through all of it to find those few gems.

Singer-songwriter Ferraby Lionheart comes to us from the California’s indie rock capitol, Silver Lake, and is full of influences that, on paper, could make you curl your lip and think, “oh great, not another one”. But with one listen to the opening track on his self-titled EP and you’ll realize this artist may be on to something.

The album was recorded in his apartment with minimal equipment and a short list of instruments so the album has a genuine intimacy that will grab you right away. Opening with sparse yet bouncy piano “Tickets to Crickets” pleases the ears as well as delights the listener with it’s endearing lyrics. The album has a lightheartedness to it and even the piano feels like it’s skipping along with the subtle snaps.

In “Won’t Be Long” Lionheart switches to a guitar dominated style that features only small bits of piano in between nasally vocals. The style has a classic, singer-songwriter feel to it but added “whoaa ohhs” and simple piano plinking, add nice touches to the simple guitar strumming to keep your mind from wandering.

“The Fighter” starts out with repetitious drumming that sounds like someone melodically bashing on metal garbage cans and then slowly builds on this steady base. With the addition of simple chords and then vocals which soon follow with keyboards and beautiful harmonies. Once you get to the first chorus line you are hooked on the richness of all of the layers blending together.

With his ability to switch from both styles, this helps to break up the possible monotony that so many singer-songwriters fall into. No matter how well-written the lyrics are, after a handful of songs that feature the same voice over either all acoustic guitar or piano dominated tracks, one’s attention inevitably begins to wander. Therefore, it is the artist’s ability to hold the listeners attention and give them a reason to focus on their words that makes their album successful. And this artist doesn’t even sound as though he has to try – it just flows naturally.

Between his alt country inspired harmonizing on “A Crack In Time” and his knack for upbeat, indie rock in “The Ballad of Sam and Gus”, Lionheart will hypnotize you with the span of pop and ponderous ballads. Even with the creepy undertones through “Ballad”, he manages to make you want to dance and before you know it, you are listening to “Something To Love” which sounds like a sad goodbye and the only thing in your mind is the question of when the next album will be available.