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Pointy Features - Hill End

WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM POINTY FEATURES – HILL END

With many streams to their name already, expectations are high with Durham-based Pointy Features, with their new album ‘Hill End’. Upon a first listen the influences are heard loud and clear, whilst still being able to tell their story and leave their mark on the genre. Listening to this album makes me miss the summer, and if you take the time to listen, you might just feel that too.

Open Seas

I think my mentioning of summer is immediately obvious when you first listen to this song. Picture the end of a long day of surfing, wandering up to grab a cocktail from a beach bar and you’re about there. The guitar that kicks in at the introduction has a clear tone that has a touch of blues to it, being as much of a main feature as the vocals. Speaking of those, the blues influence also applies here, as there is a nice range of power and emotion present. There is a gentleness to the bass and drum parts that brings the song together to boast a strong first impression.

No Matter

The second track on the album, ‘No Matter’, is mostly an instrumental track where the guitar gets to shine. It achieves this by featuring a very tasteful lick that carries a simple, yet extremely memorable melody. The break in the middle, before kicking back in with a focus on the bass is a welcome addition, with the occasional vocals here providing the cherry on top. The restraint shown in not adding any unnecessary noise is a welcome addition and makes it another solid track. This is a great example of a song that you can feel.

Old Coal Town

I have to be honest, I have mixed feelings on this next track. Whilst this is my favourite track on the album, with a more sombre tone creating a beautiful ambience, I think the lead guitar in the introduction kind of kills the mood. The clean guitar mixed with the stunning lo-fi keys and really beautiful lead vocal, is drowned out by said lead guitar.

This is fine once the bass and drums kick in later in the song, but I believe more restraint could have been shown in this introduction. I think this is because it is a little too loud in the mix, and has a tad too much distortion. Such a shame, because I think this is almost a perfect song otherwise.

Sonder

Another song with a strong blues influence, ‘Sonder’ features a nice groove that carries the entire track. We get to hear some more power from the vocals, with a great little guitar lick added as a nice bonus. The final chorus features more of a background effect on the vocals to emphasise a simple lead guitar that acts as a great accompaniment to the vocals. There isn’t too much to add here, other than the fact this is another solid album track.  

Trouble

The main riff in ‘Trouble’ is fantastic. With the bass backing up the guitar, this is a great motif that carries the track. I also believe that vocally this is the strongest track on the whole album, with some great power being shown that drives forth the emotion. The soundscape for this track is excellent, making this one of the standout tracks on the album.

Losing My Way

I like the choice of key noises that feature in this song, which is a welcome addition to the overall feel of the album. That being said, I think this song goes on a little bit too long for my liking. There aren’t enough elements that are being added to justify the length here, as the parts start to sound a little samey towards the latter half of the track. Adding another progressive element such as some backing vocals, a change in rhythm, or a new chord progression would have made this a better track overall in my opinion.

Wishing Tree

‘Wishing Tree’ is a nice and serene way to end the album. The vocals here are poignant and soulful, being the clear star of the show. I love the way the song switches up partway through to reveal a more sombre tone overall, hiding a ton of depth that makes it a perfect way to finish up the album. This song paints a picture in the mind of serenity and warmth, something that the album portrays masterfully.

As much as I enjoyed my time with this album, I always had a constant thought in the back of my mind, and for a while, I couldn’t figure out what it was. Upon writing this final section, I came to realise that I felt like the album just seemed to be missing something. The songs themselves are fine, and there are many things to enjoy about them, but I just wish the album had something to give it an edge, something to make it more memorable.

Instead of having real stand-out moments, the album just seems to plateau. For example, the first time I’ll listen to something I’m reviewing, I’ll stick it on my headphones while I’m doing things around the house, while I try to get a feel for the music. I enjoyed it whilst in this phase. However, it was only when I sat down and listened to write this review, that I realised this final epiphany.

The album is almost there, but if it had more of a hook and a clear statement to present, then it really would have been great.

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