AJ Ellis “Bury The Devil”

AJ Ellis “Bury The Devil”
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This is the debut album from AJ Ellis but he is no newcomer to the music scene. Antony Ellis is the front man on Five O’clock Heroes who have toured with the likes of The Strokes and the great Brendan Benson. However, this solo album could see him having even more success. It has already drawn comparisons to the likes of Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and Richard Hawley.
Opening track, “Cheating The Czar” is a mid tempo almost ‘adult pop’ song with a laid back and low key vocal approach which eases you gently in to the album. “Isambard” is similar with that laid back feel and a lazy beat accompanying the guitar pop rhythm.
The pace is picked up with “Stand Up”, especially with the splash of organ that features on this track. It then reaches a ‘jaunty’ chorus which has a real sunshine feel to it. Not surprising, given its title, “Dance All Night” is another of the more upbeat songs on the album. This one adds an almost country hoe down or rockabilly feel to it. Whilst the chorus of “Belong To You” brings to mind a sixties/seventies sounding pop song.
“Times In Your Life” slows things down and is more of a ballad type song. Thankfully, not a slushy ballad but more a well-constructed ballad a la Elvis Costello. That influence is also apparent on “The Complex” which is like a more chilled out Costello track. Whilst the laid back approach continues, the accompanying neat handclaps on “Hit The Bottom” give this song a bit of a soul feel. This feeling is kept going with “When The Morning” which again is a more danceable song and is probably the highlight of the entire album. It will indeed have you dreaming of a bright and beautiful early morning.
There is an almost jazz hint to “Long Way Down” and it leads in to final song, “Bury The Devil” that brings things full circle with a neat adult pop song that has an almost Clash influence trying to edge it’s way in to the track.
AJ Ellis is one of those artists who if he was any more laid back would be horizontal! The whole album has a feel of being effortlessly cool. It brings to mind artists such as Costello, Jack Johnson, and Paolo Nutini, more for their feel than any kind of musical influence. Given we have amazingly been experiencing some great weather, this is the perfect accompaniment for a chilled out afternoon, lazing in the warm sun.

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