Life Support EP by Sabali is a hushed, gentle collection of songs made up of rolling acoustic guitars, water-based sound design and direct lyrics.
“Decomposers” opens the EP with a rainstorm before plaintive acoustic guitars enter sounding like Bon Iver. When the vocal enters, there is a distinct Mark Kozelek vocal inflection. The melody is very gentle and beautiful, the words annunciated very clearly and it builds to a great final chorus with screamed vocals backing up the lead. It’s a pretty song, although a bit wordy at times, it could possibly benefit from some editing of the lyrics.
“Love From Me” is a catchy folk song sounding like a blend of Morrissey with Nick Drake. Handclaps drive the song along and make for a clever percussive track. The chorus is very catchy, playing off a syncopated melody that balances a tinge of sadness and confidence. The electric guitar solo is melodic and comes in just at the right time in the song.
“Ebb & Flow” is based around the piano, opening with a variation of the vocal melody to come before adding synth strings to literally ebb and flow around the voice. The melody has a nice contrast moving between quicker notes in the verse and bridge to a more legato stretched out chorus, again playing into the title in a clever way.
“Irish Goodbye” is a beautiful waltz that uses chiming rings of the acoustic guitar giving a gentle pedal point drone, playing into the nature of the song. The harmonies are gorgeous and enhance the melody and lyrics quite well. The marching drum ostinato that enters later on has good intentions but feels a bit stiff, though that being said does add a nice new layer to the song and develops it. The final harmonium-like note of the song is a clever exit.
“Odessa” follows an electric guitar melody that is surrounded by tape hiss. The song is driven by percussive slaps on guitar, which bounces around with echo, making for an uneasy but successful tightrope walk. What works really well overall is the chorus that moves with parallel motion between the guitar and voice making for a nice development from the contrasting guitar and vocal melodies of the verse.
“Driftwood” closes the EP with the sounds of waves rushing up on shore before quick acoustic guitar arpeggios enter. Here again, the contrast of the nimble guitar against the long legato notes of the melody really opens the song up. Towards the middle, synth strings enter again playing a nice contrasting melody, however the timbre rubs a bit with the open expansiveness of the acoustic nature of rest of the song. The song finishes well however with a Glen Hansard-esque vocal breakdown.
Overall, the EP has some gorgeous gentle melodies and some interesting instrumentation. Some editing and perhaps some collaboration could let some of these blossom even more.
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