I love immediate music, but I equally love music that needs to be gently unwrapped. It’s about unrolling it layer by layer before I get to finally expose its beautiful and gently beating heart within its soft folds. A band that totally absorbs me in this way, is Manchester based Sylvette. This is a band who have members with varied personal backgrounds and interests, but they converge to produce painstakingly constructed, thought provoking, high-end art rock. I can’t physically speak for the band, but musically not a hair or a note is out of place.
With Sylvette I get a feel for a band of wandering minstrels, they wander between the plague, from isolated village to village with a vocal to widen the eyes, deft, light but complex music to accompany the mesmerising flickering flames and to share tales from distant and barely imagined places and minds.
Sylvette’s latest single Blanket of Dust is one such beautiful confection. It is inspired by an episode in the life of CS Lewis, academic, and the author of the Narnia series of books amongst others. Difficult to imagine these days, Lewis was a man of honour and after reaching a pact with a friend during the first world war to look after the family of the other if one should die, Lewis lived with his dead friend’s mother for decades until she died.
Deeply Christian, finally in his late 50’s Lewis goes through the joy and pain of opening his life to love, marriage, but just after 4 years, his woman dies of cancer. This relationship is the theme to the film Shadowlands, and of course the love and loss shook Lewis and his faith to its core.
Lyricist and lead vocalist Charlie Sinclair got to thinking about Lewis’ experience, an appreciation that both Joy and Pain are two sides of the same coin, and the only way to fully embrace life is to recognise the certainty of the two. I’ve said before that my personal mantra and comfort is the Buddhist “all things must pass” be they good things or bad things, so Sinclair’s thoughts chime with me.
If I were to pitch the sound of Sylvette to fans of other artists, I might roll for those who enjoy the sounds and considered thoughts of the likes of the dearly missed Dry The River, Radiohead, Alt-J and Jeff Buckly. There’s a lovely blend of prog rock, art, intrigue, and beauty with Sylvette.
I’m more than excited that Sylvette have a tour coming up at the end of the summer. They are playing London The Grace on 28th August, at Leeds Oporto on 9th September, Preston The Ferret on 10th September, Manchester’s Deaf Institute on the 23rd, Blackpool’s Bootleg on the 24th, and they also play Macclesfield for their October Festival 22-24 October weekend.
* Images have been taken from the band’s social media