Album Review: Stylusboy – Hospitality For Hope

Hospitality For Hope
Wildsound Recordings

After months of writing about this talented musical duo – Steve Jones and Rachel Grisedale, it is finally time for me to write about the much anticipated first album. This debut is 10 tracks long featuring some tracks you will already be aware of but in the main plenty of brand new material for us to wrap our ears around.

Opening strongly with new single and recently released on the EP of the same name is ‘Lantern’, it is a great way to open with a track a lot of people are already aware of and the folk sounds of guitar strums, intricate acoustic riffs and piano. ‘Love’s Tale’ also features on that EP and is the third track on this debut; it’s a slower one with acoustic guitar and the dual vocals which fit so well together making a really beautiful, heart-warming moment.

The flowing musicality carries on through ‘Goodbye Day’ and ‘Closer’ with the former’s dramatic strings, melodic guitar and cymbals that crash but don’t deter from the softness of the music and the latter’s fast tempoed nature and a chorus with an indie/folk edge.

Though a lot of this album focuses on the softer side of folk there are some good moments of upbeat, catchy tunes too. Take ‘Staring At The Sky’ with its quick tempo and jolly atmosphere, retaining the folk staples of the pair’s sound but given a more danceable edge; this one is a short but sweet song bound to get your feet tapping. While ‘Eyes Form Tears’ features fleeting strums, big drums and fast vocals, it’s a slightly more rushed feel after the more languid sounds of other songs and ‘Be The First’ with its quick beats and tinkling piano line running throughout adding an air of refinement sitting alongside the clatter of cymbals.

Hushed guitar opens ‘Chasing The Light’ before the vocals of Jones start in low tones sitting against the ebb and flow of the music before Grisedale’s vocals and long, drawn out strings are added. It’s a really gorgeous moment of calm in the middle of this album with the focus fully on the vocals and the story they are both telling.

It’s an immediate start for title track ‘Hospitality For Hope’ with voices that mash together in verses and go their separate ways in the chorus; there’s a real country feel with the faint sound of banjo running in the background cumulating in a banjo meets guitar middle eight solo before building to the final chance to sing along to this catchy chorus.

While album closer ‘Hold My Hand’ is a really good way to end this debut with the pair stripping the song back to the very basics with melodic, soft guitar gently flowing along with the beautiful vocal harmonies.

After lots of good words being said about their simply beautiful music here are some more – this album is truly stunning and a wonderful listen. From the quieter moments to the upbeat, pop fuelled folk they have created 10 very different and excellent songs and it shows a truly promising career for Stylusboy.

To round up the review and give you a little taster of ‘Hospitality For Hope’, Mixtape Couture has been given an exclusive track from the album. Check out my personal favourite track, the magnificent ‘Chasing The Light’ below:

To find out more about Stylusboy visit their website, their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter – @Stylusboy and @rai_chull

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