The Six One Five Collective - Coastin' EP
Having announced themselves with a cover of The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights", the Six One Five Collective are back with an EP that just oozes with wonderful harrmonies and great songwriting - but then you'd expect nothing less from the likes of Sarah Darling, Michael Logen, and Nicole Witt who make up the collective named after the Nashville, Tennessee, phone area code in case you were curious.
"Coastin'" opens with the title track sung by Sarah Darling, which is a complete antidote to all that time confined during Lockdown - just aimlessly driving because you can - "wherever the road is going".
If you've ever wondered what Fleetwood Mac might sound like if Sarah Darling fronted it - then probably a little like this.
Opening to some percussion and guitars, Sarah soon sets the mood - and it is undoubtedly hot!
"The Central Coast Highway - my bare feet sitting on your passenger seat
You don't even have to try babe - wtith those blue eyes staring over at me
We got nowhere to be - we got nothing to do, nothing to lose"
There are some wondrous keyboards sounds that all go to make this super smooth
"So high above it all we're floatin'"
There's palm trees swaying, salty air and Sarah singing
"Anywhere with you there - as long as you're driving baby I don't care" - What more could you want?
The second track "The Good The Bad & The Ugly" is not a Hugo Montenegro cover you'll be glad to hear, it is in fact Michael Logen taking vocal duties this time round as he reflects on all the things that have happened in his life and whether he would have changed anything - the result is a resounding "no" for as he acknowledges
"They brought to this moment with you"
The song opens to Michael strumming - the percussion very much sounding like the ticking of a clock always marching forward as he ponders
"If I could close my eyes and be fifteen again and start it all over
Go bank and undo every hard time and regret and start it over"
The chorus explodes the song into life, with Sarah addins some additional backing vocals
"The good, the bad, the ugly, the broken pieces of me
I would do it all again, go through it all again
The pain, the hurt, the mistakes
the failures and the heartaches"
The second verse lyrically follows in a similar vein with the arrival of a much bigger drum sound - there's no escaping this is a classy little number.
Nicole Witt takes the lead for "Do You Ever Think About Me" starting with something of a tribal chant and that swiftly turns into a punchy incessant rocker of a tune. The opening lines are set to a brooding strumming guitar and the casual listener might think they know where this song is going
"When you're talking in your sleep, do you ever mention me?
When your turning in you bed - am I running through your head?"
The chorus though turn things on its head as it becomes clear that it's Nicole who is doing all the thinking -
"Do you think about me
Do you think about me, do you dream about me, lose sleep about me?
Am I the only lonely one
Who's haunted when the day is done?"
With a pounding drum beat, wailing guitars and at times a lively organ sound this is a majectic sound.
Lyrically only at the bridge does she clearly lay out the extent of her problems - she really feels she has lost "The One"
"I can't stop thinking about you
You're always on my mind
I can't help but wonder?"
These's a marvellous intensity in Nicole's delivery that should have her ex fearing for his rabbit if he has one and the song although quite short at under 2 and 1/2 minutes seems to fly past in half the time, such is the urgency in this cracking little song.
The final original song on the EP is "Kindness", not necessarily a Christmas song as such, but a song that very much echoes the sentiments of the season.
Michael takes the lead with his acoustic guitar and lvocal, speding a few moments to acknowledge that these are difficult times and that everyone is carrying some sort of burden.
"Sometimes this world feels like it is burning to the ground
There's so much noise we get lost in the sound
We're all slaying dragons - we think we're on our own
But everybody's got a battle, nobody knows"
Come the chorus the Collective come together to make a veritable goodwill choir and there is certainly something spiritual about the production as they sing
"Share a little kindness, share a little light
Make it in the darkness its going to be all right
Give a little comfort, give a little hope
All we gotta do is walk each other home"
With a delightfully prominent piano playing throughout this delivers on all fronts offering a hope for the future with effictivelt the smallest gesture - "a little kindness"
"Right here where we are - this is how it starts"
The final song of the EP is a cover of The Weeknd's mega hit "Blinding Lights" given an Americana reworking by the Six One Five Collective.
The original for all its success is a little bit too synthy and emotion free in terms of performance which is certainly something that cannot be levelled at this version, from the opening moments when the harmonies just kick in and grab the listener.
For the familar keyboard riff imagine a super warm violin riff and when Sarah Darling kicks in with the dreamy vocals for the opening verse the lyrics take on a whole new dimension
"I've been on my own for long enough
Maybe you can show me how to love, maybe
I'm going through withdrawals
You don't even have to do too much
You can turn me on with just a touch, baby"
The chorus is a perfect blend of voices backed by the sweetest of organ sounds that truly tops if off. Vocal duties for verse 2 would seem to fall to Jamie Floyd who has a slighly different sultry sound but is undoubtedly equally effective.
Michael gets to add some vocals to the bridge which again takes the song in a completely new direction.
The whole EP is a sheer delight from start to finish Play Loud, Play Often and Enjoy!!!