A New Dawn isn’t what you’d expect from the product of a broken relationship. Instead of an album full of heart-wrenching love songs and remorseful lyrics, Noakes’ approach to hopefulness and honesty through songwriting makes for an album full of optimism and pride.
The first song of the album – ‘Crows a Calling’ – paints this picture from the get-go. Reminiscent of a dialled-back version of Springsteen’s Born To Run , the track boasts a wide instrumentation, from violins to pianos, creating an atmosphere of hopefulness throughout, with an ending repeating the song’s title that seems fitting to the song’s lyrics. Noakes doesn’t experience the new refrain like his lost lover does, instead becoming trapped in the ‘Same Old Song’.
My personal favourite, ‘Let Me Know’ takes an immediate turn from its predecessor. Wistful guitars over soft percussion provide Noakes with the space to express his uncertainty, this becoming apparent in the hook, “Just let me know, we’re fine”. ‘Let Me Know’ is easily the most notable of moments on the album; a beautifully honest, intimate moment therein.
In ‘Highlander’s Home’ and ‘Unavailable’, we are introduced to a more on-the-nose form of story telling. The former evidences Noakes’ ability to hone in large choruses after an undeniably well-written verse. Drawing influences from country whilst retaining a classic folky hook, ‘Highlander’s Home’ is destined to be a fan favourite.
‘Unavailable’ takes a slower, swung approach in explaining feelings that are all to well-known, put simply in the chorus, “I can’t tell anyone about her, She’s unavailable to be mine.” In fashion with the rest of the album, Noakes paints a story of lust and longing over an array of pretty instrumentation.
The epitome of optimism in A New Dawn may comes from the unsuspecting, ‘Fist Full of Fears’. A song that I initially perceived as an introspective look into Noakes’ experiences in the aforementioned broken relationship, appears to be about real hope. Showing pride in overcoming the hurdles of life and for simply, being.
‘Down To The River’ and ‘Trailer Tent’ appear fitting side by side in A New Dawn, showing nostalgic and heartfelt lyrics and presenting them through a catchy pop medium.
‘Holding On to the Sand’ begins with a building intro that leads into a blend of imaginative melodies and poetic lyrical imagery. The track speaks on Noakes’ perspective around losing time and wasting life. Grains of sand being the perfect metaphor to tie a beautiful song to its beautiful lyrics.
The title track, ‘A New Dawn’, comes as the second to last song on the 10 track album, bringing things to a close with elements drawn from various points experienced across all 10 tracks. The unarguably fitting lyric ‘This could be a new dawn” comes as a blissful resolution to the themes of uncertainty, separation and honest reflection that appear throughout the LP.
If the multi-instrumentalist side of Noakes’ wasn’t apparent yet, ‘So it is Written’ plays with an array of heavenly strings, slow guitars and a romantic 6/8 drumbeat. The final track on the album is arguably the most intricate of all 10, featuring the charming tonality of Noakes’ voice and leathery harmonies to conclude.
‘A New Dawn’ is out on the 1st of May.
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