One of the big advantages of being a small independent website, who write purely for the love of the music, is that ‘holidays’ are actually a chance to simply listen to even more great new music, and get enthused about what we can feature next. So there I was, sitting on a beach in Mexico, when an email dropped through advising that the debut CeaseTone album ‘Two Strangers’ was being released, and listening to such a breathtakingly good album in such an idyllic surrounding was simply a real privilege.
CeaseTone are a band we’ve written about a fair bit on Nordic Music Review, I adored their very early singles, and whilst their style has undoubtedly evolved, I find their releases utterly fascinating- a clever mix of both electronic and acoustic sounds, with tracks that weave a web of intricately constructed music.
‘Two Strangers’ is not simply an excellent album to listen to, but it’s a masterpiece of musicianship, which delights and surprises with its variety of styles. Following the hazy electronic sounds that light up opening track ‘Two Roads’, we are then treated to the most outstanding song in ‘Sight of Your Life’, complex and subtle acoustic guitar lines followed by a lush and slightly ‘gritty’ sounding cello, and the track builds to the most beautiful and emotional high – maybe even some tiny glimpses of fellow Icelandic bands Monotown and Árstíðir, both of whom are songwriters of the highest order. Previous single ‘Full Circles’ remains a huge favourite, a really clever track which we’ve featured previously, with an explosive guitar led chorus.
But the album continues to surprise us, ‘The Bright Side’ is subtly different again, a slightly more conventional song in many ways, before we’re offered ‘Ain’t Sleeping Alright’ a huge anthemic track which would grace any size of stage – its brilliantly conceived and delivered. As expected the style then quietens with delicate and elaborate acoustic guitar in the instrumental ‘Brighter Nights’ – I could listen to a solo album of his acoustic guitar music alone. ‘Lo-Fi’ is startlingly intense and evocative, whilst I love the ‘Humble History Song’, it simply has the most delicious tune and restrained guitar line, before building into a hugely emotional conclusion with strings and complex instrumentation which blends all the different styles of sounds we've heard across the album – it is a real highlight.
This was an album that I was eagerly anticipating, but it’s way better than I could ever had any right to expect. Its packed full of extraordinarily well constructed songs, surprises at every corner, and tracks such as ‘Sight of Your Life’ and ‘Humble History Song’ have had a hugely positive impact on me – genuine 'goosebump' moments in both. Ok, so I accept totally that the variety of styles, and the mix between Electronic and Acoustic sounds might not be to everyone's liking first time, but keep listening and give this time, for me this one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. CeaseTone’s ‘Two Strangers’ is a completely magnificent achievement, please take a listen for yourself.
Nordic Music Review 9/10