Review by Paul Sabin for MPM
Sometimes something is so good that it just keeps getting better, and that is exactly what has happened with Elles Bailey’s most recent release.
`Shining In The Half Light’ was originally released just over a year ago and received great reviews but always one to keep the fans happy, Bailey has now released a deluxe version of the album that increases the track count from ten to nineteen.
There are now two new songs, two covers and five live tracks.
The live tracks were recorded with the original band members at Pool studios in London. The two new tracks and the covers were recorded at Middle Farm studios in Devon.
`Shining in the Half Light’ was already a strong, storming record and those original ten tracks still hold their own.
The moody and dramatic “Cheats and Liars” which suits Bailey’s smoky, sultry vocal tone so well starts things off was before, and the emotive title track, “Shining In The Half Light” ends the original recordings but now we continue with `Spinning Stopped’ Bailey’s voice is soft and gentle here and soothes, caresses, and relaxes the listener.
The R&B groove of `Hole In My Pocket’ is a stripped back affair initially until we hit the chorus and things really kick in with a wailing Hammond. Before attention returning to Bailey’s wonderous vocal delivery. The track end with a full band rock out where Bailey exercises her pipes and let’s rip.
Bailey’s foray into cover songs starts with the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic `Long As I Can See The Light.’ The deep south comes flooding out of this song as Bailey delivers an almost evangelical version. This is aided by guitarist, Joe Wilkins whose slide work is sublime. A brave but very successful cover of this song.
Next, we come to the live tracks. Each song from the original album is strong and fresh live. The slow but soulful `Halfway House’ is overflowing with emotion and feeling. `Riding Out The Storm’ blues-pop perfection in its simplicity.
Stones’ struts its dirty blues fantastically live with a bit more drive and sass. `The Game’ pushes the guitars to be a little more overdriven than on the original and is generally a spicier affair. The last track `Sunshine City’, pulls out all the stops as the guitars and Hammond cry and sing as Bailey ceases this track with both hands and gives her voice a real workout. This is Elles Bailey at her best.
Bailey really has expanded on greatness here. Not only are the new studio tracks equally as strong as those on the original album but the covers and live tracks have taken things to a whole new level.
If you’ve not seen Elles Bailey live then the last five tracks will give you an insist of how the music is reworked for the live arena but what it doesn’t do is show the visual excitement, commitment, and passion for her work that this lady exudes at every live performance she does. Miss her at your peril!