Monday 13 March 2017

'Ashtray Black' by Pete Gardiner

For fans of  Irish singer songwriter Pete Gardiner, this highly anticipated album has been a long time coming but let me tell you - the wait was worth it.

Featuring tracks mixed by Ash Howes and Mercury Award winning producer Tommy McLaughlin, 'Ashtray Black' builds on the success of singles such as 'Hollywood Lights' and 'Pretty Smiles' to create a collection of foot tapping, feel good tracks with emotive narratives.

The album kicks off with '11 O'clock', a relatively melancholic song with lonely lyrics layered over a conflicting uplifting groove.  The chorus of '11 O'clock' is infectious, with energetic drums and bright guitar melodies, combined with lyrics such as 'just got paid but it's 11 o'clock and I've drank it all away' that conjure up a picture of a crowd singing along in a bustling bar.

'11 O'clock' leads seamlessly into 'Doorstep Riots', a song written about fairly serious issues with a pure lyricism. Pete's raspy accented vocal is accompanied by a simple piano for the beginning of the track, providing the sense that you are about to be sung a story.

A smooth, clean guitar and a defining kick drum starts 'All These Things', an Ash Howes remix. 'All These Things' is a reflective, relatively mellow sounding song with a chorus that is catchy without being overpowering. If you were to allow your mind to wander whilst listening to this track you may imagine a group around a campfire with an acoustic guitar, singing about life in general (or at least that's what I picture).

This chilled vibe is continued into the next few tracks 'Idols', 'Ashtray Black', 'Hotel Room' and to a certain extent 'Pretty Smiles' - a review of which you can read by clicking on the link at the end of this post.

The mellowness is disrupted by the slightly country infused track 'Hard Days'. With rhythmic acoustic instruments, uplifting backing vocals and a hook that will have you humming it for days - 'Hard Days' is another track to tap a foot and sing along to. 

Returning to a simple piano, guitar and vocal arrangement is the final track - 'Hollywood Lights' - a perfectly put together song that makes you feel a whole mixture of emotion.

I particularly liked the instrumental moments towards the end of the track, with soaring string patterns, supported by percussion and a smooth guitar that has featured throughout the album. This is deconstructed to a broken piano melody and Pete's raw vocal to finish the album stunningly.

'Ashtray Black' is due for release on 17th March 2017.

Until next time...


Read our interview with Pete here.

Read our review of 'Pretty Smiles' here.

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