Luke Sital-Singh – The Fire Inside – Album Review

After seeing Luke Sital-Singh perform for the first time last month at Latitude Festival I did a little digging and found three pieces of good news: Firstly he was coming to Brighton to perform in September; secondly he had just released a collection of cover songs that he recorded from his favourite films (including great tracks by The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel and the like); and finally his debut out was due for release soon (OUT NOW).
For those of you in Brighton, or elsewhere that he is playing in his UK tour, I would strongly urge you to have a listen to his music and if it’s your cup of tea then get on down to a show near you! It’s really important to support emerging artists at the early stages of their career and to support your local music scene too. The venues aren’t massive and the ticket prices aren’t in the hundreds so why not have a great night out for around a tenner! For the Brightonians amongst you, as well as Karima Francis who is supporting for the whole tour, we have local minstrel Jacko Hooper, whose debut EP ‘For You’ was released last month and is rather fantastic. Check out my review of it here of have a listen below.
Here is my track by track breakdown of his debut album, ‘The Fire Inside’, which is available to buy now on itunes for just £6.99.
1. Nothing Stays The Same – Opening with an “ooh” reminiscent of Ben Howard’s ‘The Wolves‘ without fear of imitation. With a simple melody and uplifting chorus (which when played live at Latitude was with the backing of London Contemporary Voices) the first track has the passion of Frank Turner and astute relatable lyrics which show that his view of the world is a keen one:
 “Let your guard down
Get your heart pounded
We all bleed
We all breathe
And nothing stays the same”

2. Greatest Lovers – The chorus effect on the guitar at the start sounds slightly 80s/90s, like a Chris Isaak or The Smiths intro. In a music scene filled with introspective shoegazing self-deprecating acoustic folk, it is very refreshing to have an uplifting track, even moreso one that sounds like an uptempo Damien Rice track (in fact I can imagine him doing a down-beat version which would be equally great).

3. Bottled Up Tight – This song is a bit of a dark horse. It starts simply with a finger-picked guitar accompaniment and a soft vocal, remaining under the radar even in the first chorus:
I feel a fire, 
I see a flame set me alight,
Bring me desire bottled up tight” 
Then the drums and piano kick in and the song builds and builds for the last few minutes, moreso than your average construction site manages in a week.

4. 21st Century Heartbeat – A social commentary, unrestricted by location or social class, simply looking at the crazy world that we live in at the present, wherever we are on earth!
5. Lilywhite – A touching piano ballad in the style of Billy Joel (more my parent’s generation) or Fyfe Dangerfield, which once again builds and swells as it progresses organically.
6. Nearly Morning – This track is like an un-Americanized version of a Secondhand Serenade track, with less sap and better lyrics. Once again the vocal layering in the backing sounds great – a good tip for any aspiring songwriters out there is to befriend a fantastic choir so you can replicate this live! The a cappella bit at the end could probably be drawn out a little longer, but maybe that’s for the live shows!
7. I Have Been A Fire – Sparse to the point of almost a cappella, the vocals dominate this track like a Jeff Buckley song, with an almost Bon Jovi like rise in the chorus and when the distorted guitar enters after the second time around. Powerful stuff!
8. Everything Is Making You – Definitely getting a Starsailor vibe from this track, with maybe a bit of Travis thrown into the mix. Acoustic led with throaty vocals, underpinned by the percussion and backing vocals, this song will definitely come to life when played live.
9. Fail For You – Starting with a chorus of voices over a Buckley-esque reverbed clean electric guitar, the lush harmonies and emotive lyrics are sure to draw a few tears for those of a gentle disposition, in a post-breakup lull or who have seen too many charity adverts that day. In all seriousness, it is a beautiful track. Watch the official video below.
“I bought you the sky and the oceans too
Why the look in your eye
The only thing I couldn’t do
Is fail for you, fail for you”

10. We Don’t Belong – Juxtaposing the softest track on the album so far with this upbeat almost-boogie piano led track, the album is never stagnant, jumping all over the place but not in a random uncontrolled way as many do. I can definitely see this song in a future Zach Braff film. Check out my review of the soundtrack to his current release “Wish I Was Here” here.
11. Cornerstone –Like a philosopher in the audience of Question Time, Luke’s words definitely carry more weight than perhaps taken in at first listen, questioning himself as well as the others around him in this song: “Every life needs a cornerstone, and are you mine?”
12. Benediction – Closing the album on a somber note, in the vein of ‘Fail For You‘, with this piano and vocal track, like a stripped back version of The Fray or a David Gray track. You can feel the album physically unwind, like when you take a hot bath after a long day at work.
The album is a time-matured collection of his works so far, not rushed and not compromised. The production is excellent and the variety is impressive. The backing vocal arrangements are brilliant so kudos to whoever did those! Luke’s songwriting is mature and charismatic without shouting for attention, and his vocal abilities should not be overlooked in this stunning paragon debut album. The future looks to be very bright for Luke from where I am looking.

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