Megan & The Common Threads - Stories To Tell EP
The first thing that strikes you about this EP is that is something of a Celtic country record. Produced by Guy Fletcher, once keyboardist with Dire Straits, he has done a great job capturing an almost live sound and has clearly learned a few things from his previous employer as there are little nods to Dire Straits throughout the record
The opening track “London City Ghosts” serves as a great introduction to Megan’s new sound. It seems to be the thoughts of someone arriving alone in London and seeing the potential to be overwhelmed. The descriptions of London from the “acid rain” that falls and “stains the ground” and the “pulsing River Thames” is matched by some beautifully captured fiddle playing
“Blessing or a Curse” has a great funkiness about it that is matched to a storming chorus. It does showcase a range of Megan’s singing and closes out on a spectacular note.
“Walls” is the response to waking up to find you are being burgled. It examines the effect that such an event can have, turning a “home to a house” leaving someone “not safe here on my own”. It is a straight forward retelling of the event and its after affects. The shock of seeing “the shadow of a stranger in our home” that leaves the victim seeing “dark eyes” in their sleep. There’s just the correct balance of righteous indignation mixed with the regret of having to leave all those memories behind in a great vocal performance from Megan.
If “Walls” was the response to a personal tragedy, then “Devil and the Deep” looks at a global issue but still at a personal level. This has long been a #TeamW21 favourite at Megan’s live shows and it has been beautifully captured. It does not seek to apportion blame or offer solutions but asks for us “to spare a thought for the refugees”, the people caught in the middle.
The song begins with an ominous drum beat, setting the scene, the picture painted of “tramps to millionaires” caught between an advancing army and risky journey to an uncertain future puts human faces to a tragedy many would rather ignore. There is a wonderful closing guitar solo, that could easily be described as “Knopfleresque”! It is a song that deserves a wider audience however I suspect the radio stations may prove too lily livered to play it.
“Stories To Tell” is a look back to an earlier life to a city that don’t “remember me so well” but which holds many memories or “stories” for the singer. It is possibly the best bridge between the old sound and the new. It is the one track on which the Common Threads are a little muted with just the fiddle playing to the fore.
The EP closes out with “Awake Into The Light”, an absolutely classic song bringing all of the elements of the previous tracks together, the beautiful fiddle, the knowing guitar work, and the brilliant vocal performance of Megan.
This EP is a solid collection of songs and a great introduction to the bands new sound, as well as containing some of the most heartfelt and intelligent lyrics around anywhere at the moment.