S J Denney is drawing on the changes in his own life and the challenges facing the world at large for his EP An Island of Clouds. After taking a brief hiatus from music everything changed when he ran a half-marathon in 2019. The formation of clouds that he saw looked like islands and started the creative juices flowing.
After coming up with a set of titles, he wrote the tracks for the EP is an exciting change to his usual creative process. While using a new creative process, Denney still crafts tracks that grab your attention and weave a lyrical web around you. Touching on a range of subjects, the EP fills you with emotion and gives you an insight into Denney’s thoughts and the world.
The EP opens with the aptly titled ‘Beginnings’ which looks at learning from mistakes. The track is a vocals-only melody that is really wonderful to listen to. This creates a wonderful layered depth to the track adding to the human aspect of the emotions in the performance. The lack of instrumentation works perfectly with the messaging of the lyrics. It is also a very interesting way to open the EP and makes you wonder what else Denney has in store for you.
‘A Place We Knew’ moves away from mistakes and looks at how having a child changes your perspective on life. The melody has an easy feeling to it while filling you with a light energy. There is a sense of wonder in the music that comes through on the vocals. As you are drawn along the music, Denney shines the light on how you let things go when faced with a major life change like having a child. There is a wonderful freeing vibe to the track that takes old hurts from your shoulders and lets you shrug them off.
The dual guitar line of ‘I Could Be Forgiven’ has an interesting vibe to it. The strummed guitar has this great forward movement while the notes in the depths of the melody have a considering vibe. This combines with Denney’s vocals for a heavy single that really makes you think. While there is a feeling of heaviness to the music, the lyrics are quite motivational. They encourage you to be more secure in your individuality and to move away from a dependence on other people.
The piano line that opens ‘This World Moves On’ is unique on this EP and adds a sombre feeling to the single. The strings that rise throughout the track add an almost sad line to the melody that fills you with a sense of melancholy. Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the climate change movement, the lyrics look at the challenges we face and how hard it is to get people to listen. There is a sense of dejection at times, but this is tempered with a sense of hope that works its way through the melody.
The EP ends with ‘All of the Above’ which is a wonderful title for the closing track. Through the lyrics of the track, you are present an almost summary of the journey you have taken with the EP. The slightly upbeat flow to the music gets your head moving to the rhythm while making you feel like you can go on with your head held high. There is something hopeful about this track that makes you think that things will be okay. The horns that filter through the background add to this sense while Denney’s vocals make you smile as you listen.
S J Denney takes you on a journey full of changes, challenges and emotional hits in his captivating EP An Island of Clouds. Each track looks at a different aspect of life from changing perspectives to the challenge of getting people to listen and learning from our mistakes. As Denney takes you through these moments, he hits you with different musical stylings that perfectly capture the emotional impact of the music.