Message To Bears weaves the sublime and the simple, the electronic and the organic, to form his fourth album Carved From Tides. Message To Bears’ (English multi-instrumentalist Jerome Alexander’s moniker) latest album is ethereal and evocative. Carved From Tides, has been released on Alexander’s own label Message To Bears Music; UK release date July 1st 2016.
Carved From Tides sounds mirror its album title. The harmonies and melodies of the album feel as if it’s essence has been taken from the ocean. Carved From Tides appears effortless, but is undeniably powerful, both in emotion, lyrical journey, and in Alexander’s distinctive command of his many instruments and styles. The tracks crash and crescendo at times then at once become calming and restful. There is an otherworldly yet natural sound which ebbs and flows through each track. The partnership of electronica and instrumental complements one another, and the music becoming no less intimate from the infusion of the electronic throughout.
Never Be introduces the album as something great; emulating that spine tingling feeling of awe similar to when standing at the bottom of the mountain. The strings softly begin the piece, and the keys, drums and a plethora of subtle electrical edits join the strings. Following this, Alexander’s strikingly celestial voice comes in.
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Alexander offers his own velvety vocals throughout Carved From Tides. Lyrically and acoustically, the album feels like an emotional exploration. It chronicles existing in unpredictability and uncertainty. Throughout the album (in particular When You’re Gone) there is love for an unidentified, all-encompassing ‘you’. A ‘you’ which so many listeners may empathise with in some capacity. The stripped down, minimal lyrics allow the lyrical journey which the album embarks upon to be entirely encompassing, or wholly unobtrusive, dependent on the emotional depth to which the listener wishes to leap.
I’ll Lead You There invites the high, soft voice of Will Samson on to the track. The ballad brims with the sounds of optimistic electricity. A subtle mixture of strings, guitars, and the evoking of electronic sounds are flitted throughout; the sounds distinctive to Carved From Tides. The piece is faster in tempo than some of the tracks previous, and uplifts the mood in its light instrumentals.
Spin/Float also invites a secondary voice to the track. Jerome’s sister, Gemma’s vocals become an exquisite offering to the album. The meandering melodies breeze through the song and make for easy yet emotive listening.
Breathe and Hold On stand alone as instrumental pieces, highlighting Alexander’s ability to elicit affinity without use of lyric. Hold On brings the album to its end, with the floating sounds of a trombone echoing amongst strings and keys, the tisk of drums, stitched together with Alexander’s unique command of the electric. The soft fade of the last note leaves evokes the desire to ‘hold on’.
The flavour of the album is unobtrusive in its natural simplicity; it is soulful to listen to. Juxtaposingly, it is almost impossible to grasp the complexity of the multitude of sounds and instruments at play. The piece invites you in with its personability and its emotional depth, but is entirely relaxing to listen to. Alexander achieves something special in keeping the lyrics to a minimum despite their affective content; the listener is equally invited to delve into the depths of the emotion, or observe from the outside.
This Message To Bears article was written by Jess Emery, a GIGsoup contributor