John Ellis’s debut solo collection Come Out Fighting continued the loud, punchy sonic tradition of his previous work with three-piece rock band Tree63.
17 July 2012 | BRUCE DENNILL
7½/10 JOHN ELLIS – RURAL (PEACE OF EDEN)
With Rural, much of that bluster is removed, with Ellis (mostly just with an acoustic guitar) accompanied only by generally sparse percussion by Barry Van Zyl.
These arrangements further reveal Ellis’s talents as a singer-songwriter, especially given that there is more variety thematically than there was on Come Out Fighting, which, fittingly, was packed with protest songs.
There’s more in that vein here, though Rights All Wrong, Come Home and We Are Not A Nation Yet are all mellower in arrangement terms, and only the latter matches the righteous anger of, say, Aluta Continua.
For the most part, Rural is a very personal album, giving insights into the singer’s character that he might not otherwise volunteer.
Backroads (superb pop), Landfall (in which Ellis’s admiration for Paul McCartney is writ large), the elegiac Any Minute Now and the brilliant Never Had A Winter all confirm the evolution of a long- evident talent. – BD