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ERIK MOORE AND ANNABELLA MANELJUK  – JOURNEY TO THE UPSIDE DOWN TREE  LP/DL

(LP/DL self released )

Beginning with ‘A Storm In The City‘, the warm tones of supple bass guitar introduce the album. This first song is accompanied by choppy rhythm guitar and Annabella’s gently unaffected vocals, as the song progresses, it’s joined by percussion and synth, a fine opening song. ‘And The World Is Fine‘ is jointly sung by Erik and Annabella. Oodles of space in this song, with some tasty fluid guitar, and again that lovely warm bass, plus twinkling keyboards. It has quite a prog-like uncluttered structure to it, with very deliberate concise Instrumentation. The synths and korg played throughout the record, are by Metamono‘s Mark Hill, an integral part of this album.

One Day We’ll Touch‘ a beautiful gossamer light tune, with Annabella again providing the lead vocals, Erik’s filigree guitar notes tumbling out and eerie tones of  melodica outline this song of longing. ‘Girl In Blue‘ starts with the patter of some unusual percussion, building in intensity, again with that superb elastic bass tone. Jazzy delicate lead guitar, and some fine swirly keyboards, along with a lightly fuzzed guitar solo. The title track ‘Journey To The Upside Down Tree‘ continues in this vein with plenty of busy percussion, swirling synth, a massed female vocal chorus, and finger-picked acoustic guitar. It moves as one through a few changes, underpinned by the drums ( which are played by Sue Downim), and some more melodica on the fade.

Sunny By A Lake‘ opens side two in an acid folk vein, all watery images. With fine acoustic guitar to the fore, electric guitar, synth, percussion and more of that fine elastic bass, fleshing out this tune. The sense of space achieved on side one is maintained, lending a lightness to the proceedings. This could well be my favourite song on the album. ‘Save Me From Myself‘ then Introduces itself with some very fluid electric guitar, bubbling bass, melodica and gentle percussion. It is quite prog-like in structure, Erik sings the first verse on this memory laden song about the passing of time and of adventures had. Annabella sings the second verse, with both combining on the choruses.

      ‘Petrified‘ begins with Annabella’s lone melodica, and she sings this one too, accompanied by a bed of pulsing Synths and some ever so delicately played wah-wahed guitar. This song shows off Erik’s dexterous playing, and on the fine bubbling fretboard runs, a slightly more economical Gary Boyle springs to mind.  ‘And The Clouds Just Keep On Rolling‘ ends this record in style, a beautiful jazz/folk rock number, concerning the mysteries of life. Planting yourself on top of the downs and watching drifting clouds roll by would be the perfect environment for listening to this record.

Erik and Annabella have produced a delightful record, an unhurried classy set of songs, which will stand up well to repeated playing. In fact i’m putting it right back on. (Andrew Young)