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Feedback File - Sans Voix

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 10 / 4 / 2020



Feedback File - Sans Voix
Label: 574261 Records DK
Format: CD

intro

Instrumental album from The Feedback File featuring new and old songs, which despite the absence of their usual excellent vocal performances might well be their best yet


There are times when finding the right words to describe a piece of music, an album, just don’t materialise. And I doubt I can find the words to describe just how beautiful and innovative ‘Sans Voix’ is. It’s been five years since The Feedback File, a loose collective centered around the talents of John Almond greatly impressed with ‘The Earth Beneath Our Feet’. The album covered so much ground; sun-kissed pop songs that could have been written by any of the classic singer-songwriters from the golden years of the 1960s and 1070s through some neat jazz and folk leanings to the radio friendly funk of the Chic Organisation. The Feedback File could take inspiration from any era, add their own unique twist and come up with winner after winner. Mentioning Bill Fay in a song title on the album did no harm at all, and the band should be commended for helping keep the name of this underrated singer-songwriter who is currently releasing some of the best music from his long career in the public eye. The album was also noted for the vocal talents of Sarah Vallance; this time (and given the album title it’s no great surprise) there are no contributions from that golden-voiced artist as Almond has taken the step of compiling eleven tunes comprising new and old tracks ; a few have featured on previous releases but most of those have been remixed or re-recorded for this album. So, it’s an instrumental album ; given the exceptional vocal performances on ‘The Earth Beneath Our Feet’ initial thoughts were that although Almond obviously has no little talent for producing memorable melodies that float around the listener’s head for days after playing a Feedback File album those vocals were going to be sorely missed. While vocals, especially of the standard we’ve come to expect from The Feedback File, obviously add a different slant to Almond’s compositions, ‘Sans Voix’ is the perfect accompaniment to the band’s vocal albums. It could be argued that Almond has yet to release a song that isn’t musically rich and, for the most part, shorn of any vocals this collection only confirms that Almond really is up there with those composers from the golden era of music that initially influenced him. There are moments as in ‘The Spark That Lit Up The Desert’ where heavenly wordless vocals creep in; they lift an already beautiful song and arrangement even higher. If fading memory serves me right bands such as the Free Design came to mind while listening to the last Feedback File album; those jazzy influences are still here on this track but, and not only on this track but at various other times on ‘Sans Voix’, elements of the Beach Boys/Brian Wilson seep through. These are not instrumentals to do the ironing to; they take the listener on a trip, for the most part an excursion on a summer's day when all is well with the world and nothing seems impossible. We all have those days looking back that we never wanted to end, ‘Sans Voix’ conjures up the same feeling. It makes you forget all the current troubles in the world; you just want to live in this beautiful, innocent environment the album summons for the rest of your life. But don’t get the impression that everything is too soft, too laid back. Even though the opening cut, ‘East Goes West’ is another summer day reflection song the title gives notice that there is more to the tune than just another sunshine pop song. The twangy guitar recalls beach parties for sure but also adds a slight menacing edge. ‘Deep Sunday’ runs along the same lines, the Indian percussion and wind instruments create an atmosphere not usually associated with The Feedback File but it is a path Almond and company should maybe take more often; it’s a stunning piece of music superbly played and produced. As usual The Feedback File’s latest is a diverse collection but there’s never a dull moment here or, surprisingly given their past achievements, a point where you wish vocals would make an appearance. John Almond has mentioned that a new song-based album should be available during 2020, it will be welcomed warmly given his past releases but, in the meantime, ‘Sans Voix’ will do very nicely thank you.



Track Listing:-
1 East Goes West
2 Deep Sunday
3 A Time Before Flyte
4 oPeng
5 Grace and Favour
6 Star Song
7 One Foot In Havana
8 Down By The Seine
9 Raggedy Man
10 The Spark That Lit Up The Desert
11 New Church Morning


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/thefeedbackfile
https://thefeedbackfile.bandcamp.com/



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interviews


Interview (2016)
Feedback File - Interview
Malcolm Carter takes the opportunity to find out a little more about the Feedback File from John Almond who wrote and produced ‘The Earth Beneath Our Feet’, which was one of the most eclectic and inspiring albums of 2015


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The Earth Beneath Our Feet (2015)
Stunning fourth album from the Feedback File, who by expanding their folk/pop/jazz base with a funk element have made their most diverse yet captivating set to date


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