Every time I put my head down and write about an album from one of my favourite artists’ I check back to see how many superlatives i’ve already burnt on previous albums and posts, compare the differences, check the evolution and try to get a sense of any new direction the artist may have taken.
Whilst checking on Rhian Sheehan’s last album review, ‘Seven Tales Of The North Wind’ (which by coincidence was published exactly one year ago!?) and playing a few of the tracks from the album again to refresh my memory, it’s quite clear that Rhian has had a change of scenery with ‘Stories From Elsewhere’, or perhaps, been inspired by a different season. Where ‘Seven Tales Of The North Wind’ was a sunny autumn day atop a hill with the wind in your hair, ‘Stories from Elsewhere’ is very much the summers day with life and energy injected back into his approach. The Music Box and playful melodies make a welcome return in tracks such as ‘Creation Myths’, (I seem to remember Rhian featuring a few amongst 2008’s ‘Standing In Silence), and there’s even electronic undertones in tracks such as ‘Nocturne 1985′, hitting on dare I say, nostalgic M83 notes.
‘Sileo’ and ‘A Thimble of Sorrow’ provide a welcomed check back-in on Rhian’s blissful post-rock ambient state, pulling on the emotions and typifying Rhian’s exemplary approach to music scores and heart-aching string-work. Fans of Hammock’s recent offering ‘Departure Songs’ will feel at home here. Then Rhian really begins to get back to his best on the orchestral front, with ‘Nusquam’ – an epic piece which wouldn’t be out of place on any movie-screen and ‘Somnus’, where big guitars are balanced with tinkering pianos, only for the muffled melody of ‘Little Sines’ to play out amongst a perfect outro in ‘Lullaby Machine’.
It sounds like Rhian’s had a lot of fun putting this album together. All of his approaches from previous albums are evident and of course as brilliant as ever. I just can’t wait for the day I get see this guy live, accompanied by a full orchestra, with that tiny little music box upfront – Rhian, i’m happy to play that part of you need a spare hand!
You can buy the album on Bandcamp.