Graffiti6

Free EP

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Free EP Review

by Jon O'Brien

Twelve months after releasing their criminally ignored debut album, Colours, in the U.K., singer/songwriter Jamie Scott and producer Tommy D (Kanye West, Jay-Z) aka Graffiti6, attempt to see if the U.S. will latch onto their self-described psychedelic Northern Soul sound with their first stateside EP, Free. Having signed to Capitol Records, they perhaps stand a better chance of success across the pond than in their homeland, as their summery melodies, West Coast harmonies, and retro R&B production always felt more suited to sunnier shores. The seven tracks featured here (four of which are taken from Colours), may not represent them at their best, with only the Spector-ish Wall of Sound of the title track and the distorted, stomping blues of "Foxes" in their original studio form, but the five acoustic numbers still serve up enough of a flavor to whet the appetite for their album's U.S. re-release later in the year. While "Stone in My Heart" loses some of its stylish funk-rock flair in its new setting, the rest of the material benefits from its stripped-back treatment. "Lay Me Down" is transformed from a Kings of Leon-esque slice of boogie rock to a rousing nu-folk anthem, Scott's impassioned, soulful vocals sound even more stunning when accompanied by gorgeous layers of strings on "Annie You Save Me," while "Blue Ridge Mountains" is a brave cover of the standout from Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut, which impressively holds its own with the original. Fans who have discovered their music through its use on various U.S. teen dramas should also check out their full-length album, but this is still a worthwhile introduction to an underrated act who are well overdue some success.

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