“Home is Everywhere” EP – Noel Cowley

5 stars (out of 5)

3

Noel Cowley thumbnailWell, it’s not even halfway through January yet and this is the second very, very good single I’ve reviewed.  Noel Cowley is a singer-songwriter with roots in Derry, Dublin and London and the songs and arrangements on this EP are in a tradition that extends back to the highpoint of the genre in the 70s.  Noel recorded these songs (co-written with his brother Ewan, who also plays piano and guitar) in Manchester with some help from Paul Burgess (10CC) on drums and Tracey Browne on backing vocals.

The songs on this EP are moving and introspective, from the opener “If Nobody Told You” with its positive advice to be yourself set against a band arrangement with strings, to the closing song “Station Road” with its sparse acoustic guitar arrangement and Van Morrison-like childhood reminiscences.  The two central songs, “Wherever I Go” and “Sunday on the Quay”, are perfect in every way, from the nostalgic lyrics to the powerfully catchy choruses delivered in Noel’s strong, clear tenor voice, which has a strong feel of Iain Matthews, a long-time favourite of mine.

If you want an antidote to the instant stardom, X-Factor pap that clogs up the charts at the moment, then you could do a whole lot worse than listen to this.  There’s no over-the-top production, no clever samples, just songs that stand up on their own with very simple, even basic, arrangements played on real instruments; what a great start to the year.

Release date January 14th, 2014