The album ‘Appeals for the Lonely’ sees Lancashire singer-songwriter Kev Scott, working with longtime collaborator Steve Pellatt (Blanket) and also features Lewis Dickinson (sax/flute) and Joanna Byrne (Phantom Voices), Kate Ferris and Emma Perry (backing vocals). This is Kev’s third self-produced album, and is the follow up to his 2016 release ‘The Loved Ones’. Here the artist shows Kev’s true development, not only as a songwriter, but as a musician (performing all guitars, bass, banjo, harmonica, organ and piano) and an upcoming producer. From start to finish this new album builds upon the potent success of Kev’s previous releases to even greater musical heights.
It isn’t often these days that I use the adjectives beautiful and wonderful to describe modern music releases but those apply to this release. Kev Scott has quite possibly never sounded as confident and in the moment as a vocalist, lyricist, and musician than he does on ‘Appeals for the Lonely’.
Kev is in a place he’s visited before, but the familiar-sounding tracks journey across the genres in search of those sounds. Once again, he surveys everything from folk music to rock rhythms and textures to populate his songs. Kev’s understanding and empathy with American roots music is a given.
Similarly, his feeling for British folk. He also makes room for more traditional chugging electric guitars and rolling drums. Stir the lot with his intuitive understanding of rock ’n’ roll dynamics and you have this intriguing album, brooding, mysterious, full-blooded, fascinating. Electric and eclectic. The more you listen, the more you hear.
From the opening track, “Dust”, this album taps into familiar archetypes to make sense of Kev’s own life experiences. It’s an imaginative tapestry of sounds and stories, where the music blends together into something seamless and intuitive, while the songs seem at once like modern texts and yesterday’s diary entries.
This is a recording that’s detailed, immediate, and full of life. The result is one of Kev’s most accomplished and casually ambitious albums, one that borrows freely from different musical vernaculars.
“The Madness & The Silence” shows off intervening horns, while “Beautiful Winter” is filled with rich layers of harmonies. “Tonight’s Prayer Part 1” has the twang of Americana but also moody atmospherics that give it an otherworldly sheen.
By contrast, “Soldier” fuses slippery grungy rhythms to acoustic guitar strums, while the vocals veer between melodic harmony and fiery drumming. What unites all these disparate sounds is the subtlety that Kev Scott brings to his performances: He never lets out full-force shouting roars, and many of the songs, like “The New Age” are practically sung in a sweeter conversational tone.
Kev Scott’s acoustic-guitar strumming folk mystique draws the listener in close, where it becomes clear that these stories, confessions and anecdotes, sound vital and vibrant. “For Brothers & Sisters” sets the introspective tone for these cuts, which is followed by “Heaven In Her Eyes” and “Lights Down Low”, all of which grasp for a sense of transcendence in a world of fleeting pleasures.
More often than not, that transcendence comes through the intimacy of Kev’s voice. The singer-songwriter is clearly still restless and ready to explore on “Tonight’s Prayer Part 1” which is a hurricane of overdriven guitars and capricious percussion.
The album closes on that same crunchy and gritty note with “Time To Say Goodbye” – a palpable and pulsating track that evokes a sense of matured and distilled alternative rock. The majority of the work here on ‘Appeals for the Lonely’ is compelling, forging a project that integrates a range of themes, approaches, and tempos — at the center of which, of course, are Kev Scott’s songwriting, musicianship and vocals.