gig reviews

Fit And The Conniptions - Sweet Sister Starlight

By Hannah Spencer

Fit And The Conniptions

Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Wayne Myers has been making music under the name of Fit And The Conniptions since 2005 and ‘Sweet Sister Starlight’ is his second full length album release to date. The album opens with its title track; a slow and steady number that hints at the influence of the likes of The Doors, particularly with Myers’ distinctive low pitched, relatively gruff vocals which are accompanied by strummed electric guitar, drums and bass. Flowing into a gentle guitar solo, ‘Sweet Sister Starlight’ already sounds reminiscent of background pub music with the same repeated chord sequence and melody throughout and no real destination or variety, just steady, plain, bluesy song writing. Quite a laid back and funky track, ‘Turnaround’ is then driven forward by an active melodic bass line, but again the vocal melody remains quite monotonous over the bass, drums and strummed electric guitar ground and constant noodling guitar soloing, with equally as repetitive harmony. ‘Love Less And Live’ makes a return to the steady pace of the opening track with its only variety in the language of the second half of the track; Myers sings in a different tongue.

It’s a real shame to have started an album with such bland openings as it really doesn’t fuel the listener with any enthusiasm for what may follow, and ‘Sweet Sister Starlight’ continues to unfold itself as a really rather boring and under-perfected effort. A saxophone joins the blend in ‘Spellbound’, but is unfortunately played by no Gerry Rafferty, with questionable pitching and sloppy playing that frankly makes one move towards the skip button, especially during the solo; the breathing is all over the place and the tone inconsistent to say the least. ‘Spider Song’ then contrasts as low spoken word vocals meandering over a similar bland harmonic structure as the tracks that have preceded it. Again contrasting, ‘Wander In A Dream’ opens with trumpet and recorder over picked acoustic guitar, thankfully better pitched than the previous instrumental interjection. The track is a gentle and down-tempo melancholic folk number during which Myers’ low vocals are warmly contrasted by a gentle high and whispered female vocals line in harmony beneath a folky recorder line and gestures of trumpet countermelody; one of few strong tracks of the ‘Sweet Sister Starlight’. ‘Many Many’ then returns to the full band feel complete with the questionable saxophone. Again, its song writing remains repetitive and monotonous; the same repeated bland harmony that never develops into anything other than more of the same with the slight exception of the saxophone solo which sounds very much like every other solo on the album as a result of lacking harmonic and tempo variation.

Later, ‘Wood For The Trees’ sounds a more sensitive folk feel with picked acoustic guitar, gentle bass, brushed drums and piano. Myers’ lyrics are poetic and his ability as a multi-instrumentalist is clear bar a few exceptions, it’s just that his music lacks any real sense of distinctive, well-written and developed melody. ‘Broken’ then opens with clumpy piano chords beneath a muted trumpet line and echoing suggestions of guitar melody. It’s like the vocals of Jonny Cash over GCSE composition style clumpy chords and contrasting interjections of gentle muted trumpet and echoing guitar; it just isn’t developed enough to work or be enjoyable and moves so slowly and without emotion that it is almost motionless. A typical, acoustic guitar accompanied blues folk moan follows in ‘Nothing’s Any Fun Anymore’, and then the album concludes with ‘Solemn Ground’, a return to the electric mix, but equally as bland as everything that preceded it.

Unfortunately with this offering, Wayne Myers offers little more than a strong similarity to the kind of depressingly average band that babble away in the corner of a pub not really being listened to by anyone out of choice; just a bit on the boring side.

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