Since the release of his debut EP The State of Play, S J Denney music has grown and evolved. His journey has seen him blend his Britpop influences with a sound coming from the American songbook. His new collection of songs Forgotten Friends is a perfect showcase of how far he has come.
Opening the EP is “Here I Am”. The idea for this song came to him while in a car park of a local supermarket. As its tune arrived, he grabbed his iPhone and began recording. His delicate use of the guitar sets the mood for the start of his tale “Open up your eyes / I’m standing right beside you / Don’t you realise that I’m there?”. It is the perfect introduction to those who have not listened to his music as it highlights his indie-americana sound with his gentle storytelling qualities.
Denney gets to express himself musically during the track “(Feels Like I’m) Hearing Things”. He moves away from the standard repetitive chord sequences to move around the guitar with more freedom. He uses this to set the tone for a song that reflects the current political situations going on around the world. It is highlighted in the opening lines “Feels like I’m dreaming / And I can’t wake / Feels like we’re living / In a world that’s full of hate”.
“All the Signs Were There” brings a blend of pop meets americana. There is a sunnier feel about this track, a little different to his usual sound but one that fits him well. Denney has said, “I can definitely hear some melodic influences from my favourite songwriter, Sir Paul McCartney”. This infectious tone can be heard with his lines “When I tried telling you that all the signs were there / You didn’t listen, but you lived your life with care”.
The mood changes as “All the Signs Were There” ends and flows into the hidden track “Forgotten Friends”. This lasts for just over 90 seconds and is one of the best musical moments that this songwriter has created. When hearing it, it is hard not to imagine him under a spotlight with his guitar. He shares an honest and emotional moment about a friend of his who has spells of depression. His opening lines say it all “When you feel alone why don’t you say / There’s a feeling that I can’t explain / And it aches me to my bones / Then it breaks my heart in two?”. Again, this is a different side to what he creates, but it still sounds good and creates a standout moment from this release.
S J Denney has been pushing his songwriting skills and his reward is his stunning new EP ‘Forgotten Friends’
“Good Times” shows off Denney’s arrangement talents as his guitar interweaves with the cello, bass and percussion. It creates this captivating moment on the ears. One of the moments when this stands out further is during the lines “Gone with the summer breeze / Flowing through your hair / Thank you for showing me you care / You’re falling like the autumn leaves / Scattered everywhere / Till the feeling moves you on”.
For some people, music is an essential element in their world. Either to escape, to uplift or something to get you through the challenges of life. For this artist, “Where Darkness Hides” was finished during one of these tough times. When you understand this, it gives this song a more personal meaning. It shows how much his craft means to him.
Bringing the EP to a close is “A Fond Farewell”. Again, you can feel the influence of his love of The Beatles flowing throughout the track with its subtle pop elements. You can hear it flowing through the delivery of the line “We’re dreaming of the one that got away”. You can’t help but get swept away with its charm. As a result, creates another standout moment from the EP.
S J Denney should be proud of what he has created with Forgotten Friends. He has been fearless on how he has pushed his sound since his debut release. As a result, this has to lead him to his best work to date.