Frozen Houses – Self-titled EP review

Frozen Houses - Self-titled EP review

Glastonbury native Alex Hill first discovered his passion for composing six years ago during a gap year in New Zealand. After returning to the UK to study jazz, he soon found himself developing more of a taste for acoustic indie material and decided to shift his focus in that direction.

Taking inspiration from a talk by Randall Carlson about the frequency of ice ages and the rate of climactic change that precedes them, the singer/songwriter adopted the stage name of Frozen Houses and went about creating his own rousing collection of folk/pop pieces. The culmination of his efforts is his homemade self-titled EP, which he recorded, mixed and mastered independently.

Taking off with “Star on the Boulevard”, a crisp and cutting acoustic riff sets an affecting ambience ahead of the vivid vocals that ring out during the verse. The instrumentation builds and becomes more energetic as it approaches a chorus that features an arresting duet. It’s a gentle and relaxing opening number which has a mellow but forceful feel.

Following up by way of a warm and optimistic instrumental introduction, “Trouble Outside” skips towards a rich and expressive harmony. From here, things saunter along at a steady yet placid pace, speeding up slightly for the stirring chorus. The accomplished guitar work emanates a consistently reassuring attitude, complementing the pleasant melodies to forge a soft and serene composition. “Back on the Train” succeeds it by racing into a riveting rhythm and bounding towards solemn, heartfelt vocals. It’s the fast and fervent instrumentation that really draws attention here though as it develops a swift momentum that refuses to relent from start to finish.

The busy and bustling acoustic riffs of “Listen” take on a somewhat sombre and serious demeanour afterwards, unfolding alongside a poignant harmony. This hectic and heavy offering has a lot going on throughout, producing a sound whose nature seems decisive and resolute. “Hummingbird” arrives next via light and touching instrumentation that plays out alongside a moving melody. The sobering vocals and pressing guitars give the whole thing a melancholy yet vibrant vibe. It acts as a finely tuned finale that brings the record to a tranquil and contemplative end.

Frozen Houses’ self-titled debut is a wonderfully reflective body of work whose soothing and simple style feels rich with depth and meaning. Its accessible, easy listening sound will surely find favour with a large audience. You can find the EP on Bandcamp, while CDs that feature exclusive artwork designed by Hill himself will be available at his upcoming live shows. For all of the latest news and updates, head on over to the artist’s Twitter page and hit follow.

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Graduate of NUI Maynooth's Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there's anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it's writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com