Welcome to the inaugural Stellar Review, the place where indie artists can expect to receive an honest but unqualified opinion of their work, then choose to ignore it if they wish.
This week I awoke to some swag on my doormat, I had received a pre-release copy of Scott Ballard’s debut EP – Good Fruit Costs a Bit More. I love free stuff, and this free stuff was pretty too. One of the things I’ve come to love about this EP is the artwork. I know this sounds completely shallow but when I open my iTunes library on any device I can swipe straight to this album without having to troll slowly through the alphabet of black/grey/dark silhouettes posing oddly on their front covers and melding into each other. One quick swipe, flash of yellow – stop. There it is, it’s the simple things that please me most sometimes.
Now, before I continue, I feel that a small disclaimer is in order. I know Scott, I’ve known him for years and I have watched him play guitar in several bands during this time so you’d be forgiven for thinking that this review might be a little biased. This was something I was worried about too so when I listened to and loved the EP the first time, I made sure that I really did love the music I was hearing rather than be impressed by the fact that someone I know has produced the CD in my hands. I carried out thorough research for this review. I listened to the EP on a loop for three days. I listened while I was in the shower, doing the washing, cooking our meals, in the car and while I was out running (I gave up my audiobook for that one, just when it was getting to the saucy bits!). There was no corner of my house or life that wasn’t bouncing Scott’s songs off the walls. I can assure you that I wouldn’t have listened to it twice if it didn’t appeal to me, let alone tortured myself with it for days! Besides, this was the first time I had actually heard Scott sing, he’s always been the the guitarist to someone else’s centre stage. I have to say, I wasn’t unimpressed.
The EP has a very melodic, upbeat feel to it, if you think about the modern musical stylings of Ed Sheeran, Goo Goo Dolls, Passenger and The Lumineers and then mash it together with a bit of old school Paul Simon then you’ve pretty much captured Scott’s sound. If you prefer pop or dance music, you should look elsewhere, you’re not going to find that here. Nor are you going to find the booming sounds of stadium rock bands. Scott is a man with a guitar and raw voice that’s remained unaltered in the production process, you might catch a bit of reverb in there somewhere but if there’s any auto-tuning it hasn’t been done to Madonna’s annoyingly noticeable standards.
The EP has five songs, one of which (Normal Life) is a charity single set for release to raise awareness and money for Crohns & Colitis UK. Another, Conscript Me, has an award winning video attached to it which you can read a bit about here. The remaining three (Hail, He Said and Turned My Life Around) are actually my favourite tracks but I can’t link you to them, you’ll have to buy them or listen to a sample on iTunes. I can’t tell you what they’re about either, although I’ve pretty much learnt the lyrics this week I don’t know the meaning behind them. I never was very good at figuring that out. I could ask, but really, who cares? I’ll enjoy the songs whether or not I know.
In summary, Scott’s music will make you happy, you can dance around your house to it and sing along if you feel like it. It’s easy listening and thankfully, it doesn’t drop the beat which is the reason that my son won’t be listening to it.
You can get to know Scott by visiting his website www.scottballard.co.uk where you’ll find links to his tracks on Soundcloud. You can also link to his social media accounts from here and of course, buy his EP or charity single. You can also buy or stream the EP or individual songs by clicking through to the below platforms:
(Be aware that there is an American artist with the same name who the music platforms seem to link to Scott’s work. He is far more beardy and offensive which is fine if you like that sort of thing but his work shouldn’t be confused with this Scott’s!)
I’ll leave you with the video to Scott’s first video for Conscript Me and the more recent video for Normal Life, the charity single. I’d also like to add a reminder that if you like the Stellar Review and Scott’s work please share it far and wide, Indie artists deserve our support and we can do this by spreading the word, buying their work and leaving reviews for others who might be thinking of doing the same.
Until the next Stellar Review,
PS: Before you ask, no, I do not know what the video is about either 😉