Review JUSTIN SULLIVAN ‘Surrounded’

This review is about an album that focusses on the calmer and gentle facets of music instead of challenging the speakers through hard riffs and massive beats. ‘Surrounded’ is the title of an album that comes from Justin Sullivan and is his second solo release in 18 years. The iconic singer, being known from the legendary New Model Army, unveiled his solo debut ‘Navigated by the Stars’ in 2003 and ‘Surrounded’ sets a next step into the right direction.

The sixteen songs featuring longplayer is an album that doesn’t go with the flow. Trends and hypes leave Sullivan cold. Instead of short-life music, the singer builds his music on emotion and depth. ‘Surrounded’, that is musical storytelling, a blend of both components that lead to an exciting longplayer that wants to be explored.

Melancholy is a main vibe on Sullivan’s new album and it’s the grayish shades that are present throughout, as put into scene on the artwork. Still there is always a piece of brightness embedded too. ‘Surrounded’ carries the mood of the lockdown and doesn’t focus too much on a social message. This time it’s a mixed bag of themes with Sullivan being the singing narrator.

‘Amundsen’, a song about the Norwegian explorer of polar regions, is one of the songs that transports the atmosphere of antarctic loneliness in perfect. In a way, the tune is a continuation of ‘Ocean Rising’ which addressed the impressive story of Ernest Shackleton in the Antartica and it reminds me of a time which was one of the greatest week to me.

‘Amundsen’ is just one of these sixteen songs, all shaping an album without weak spot. The great ’28th May’ is another tune that blossoms right away and it’s again the calmer und gentle tones that create an atmosphere you can’t hide from. These tracks are touching moments and no doubt, Sullivan’s iconic voice helps the songs a lot in unfolding their potential. And there is ‘Sao Paolo’, a song title that makes you think about Samba and carnival and proves you wrong. Instead of a lively swinging one, ‘Sao Paolo’ is one of the darkest songs on the album, a heavy stone on the human soul.

‘Surrounded’ is a great album, a record with songs that transport pure emotions. Although the basic vibe is a gloomy one, the songs fascinate by a variety that’s kept together be the atmospheric expression. This longplayer needs time and attention. It rewards the effort with music that is an emotional experience more than just songs.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Dirge
  2. Amundsen
  3. Coming With Me
  4. Clean Horizon
  5. Stone And Heather
  6. 28th May
  7. Akistan
  8. Unforgiven
  9. Sao Paulo
  10. 1975
  11. Sea Again
  12. Clear Skies
  13. Rip Tides
  14. Daughter Of The Sun
  15. Ride
  16. Surrounded

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Acoustic Rock

Release Date EU: May 28th, 2021

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