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Chennai Artist Alvin Presley Manages A Subtle Balancing Act On Debut EP


album Reviews Aug 12, 04:24pm

‘Fall Today’ is a great first release and features exceptional songwriting with a minimal palate
 Photo Courtesy: Alvin Presley

The first thirty seconds of ‘Fallen Mornings’, the first track on Chennai singer-songwriter Alvin Presley’s classy debut project ‘Fall Today’, are for some reason instantly arresting. There’s not much to it; it’s just his voice, a piano and some percussion. There’s nothing soaring anywhere or doing anything flashy. But it sounds every bit as emotional and compelling as anything else. This most often comes out of someone that makes every little element count. Alvin is one of those people.

The EP is three tracks (four, technically) and about eleven minutes of music. The volume never goes above a comfortable level and the amount of instrumentation never goes beyond relatively minimal. The reason why ‘Fall Today’ is one the best sounding releases in a minute is that Alvin controls his sounds beautifully. His singing voice is a bit commercial sounding and so are his inflections, but he locks in with his backing pianos or guitars with an earnestness and feeling that is easy to relate with. This makes songs like ‘Fallen Mornings’ quite personal experiences. The aforementioned (beautiful and sort of proggy) piano chords and percussion or electronic drums are just excellently written; the synth that appears about a minute and a half in is even better. It really elevates the rest of the track, and the noisy textures that follow it just sound right. Again, there’s nothing crazy happening here; it’s just well-fit to the degree that you can’t imagine it sounding any other way. ‘Falling Star (Pogathey)’ is a bit indie-leaning but feature a spirit rooted in prog rock that provides its deliciously bittersweet edge. Synths play a role is lifting the track here too, but they never intrude on the main melodies. They’re only there for texture, and again, their swirling sounds go over really, really well. The EP’s title track is a full-blown indie affair, complete with a woolly kick and that acoustic guitar sound. Alvin’s lyrics are a bit contemplative; there’s talk about passing nights and possibly ominous futures, but they’re mostly atmosphere-building. The fourth track (and what actually ends the EP) is possibly its darkest and most interesting moment; it is a minute of very foreboding pianos and textures that suddenly pops up and gives everything you have heard before a more serious edge. It’s an interesting decision to end with something like this, and it works without doubt.



The common thread that runs through ‘Fall Today’ is Alvin’s attitude of doing the best he can with a little. Every song is well-written, fairly well produced and above all, sounds immersive. You don’t need to dive into the EP to get the best out of it; the music displays its quirks and its obvious high quality without any unnecessary mystery. It’s a great effort.

Listen to 'Fall Today' here.


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