Longtime UK-based friends Jon Sandman and Abbie Loosemore “have always wanted to make music together” and took advantage of 2020’s lockdown to produce their first musical project. The result, Still Life (recorded as Jon & Abbie), is a delightful five-track set.
Their writing process starts with the guitar; Jon adds keyboards and drum machines later to complement Abbie’s lyrics. The resulting cuts are quite well-produced. They’re, shimmering and layered, and offer a soundscape that washes right over you, while still showing great restraint and taste. On repeated listenings, your ears will discover little hidden nuggets and treats.
Abbie’s lyrics are stellar throughout. She touches on grief, loss, heartbreak and what happens post-relationship. Her turns of phrase are delicate, yet immediate, relatable, visceral. Moreover, they sound great as they roll off the tongue. “Drunk in the heat / those six long weeks / caught in a tide that was pulling us in”--what a terrific description of a summer romance! On “44 Days,” her descriptions of everyday life recall the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” or maybe “A Day in the Life” - “There’s a pub on the corner / It’s nice in the summer / I wonder what’ll happen to all of the beer / A jar outside collecting rainwater / Throw it away before it disappears.” This becomes the jumping off point for a poem to an ex-lover where she captures the swirling mix of confusion, loneliness and optimism that sets in a month and a half after it’s ended.
Jon’s vocal delivery gives Abbie’s words their due. His singing is on-point, giving each phrase just the right amount of diction and weight. He brings the lyrics to life, and sets them up beautifully against the tracks. Sandman works in subtle harmonies and double-tracking throughout, and the underlying production and mixing is remarkably skillful--the parts are so well done, you don’t even realize what he’s built in, because it’s just correct.
You won’t go wrong with any of the five tracks on Still Life. The triplet ballad “44 Days” was a particular highlight, where the lyrics and production meld perfectly. The title cut is a delightfully constructed pop track which features many different synth tones and a get-you-moving sixteenth-note section. While you’re listening, be sure to appreciate the album art also. Each track features its own original image, making me long for the days of discovering beautiful picture sleeves in a bin of 45rpm singles.
Jon & Abbie, thank you for collaborating at long last. Please keep up your fine work!
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook