Album Review: The Dunwells – Light Up The Sky

The Dunwells

The Leeds quartet featuring brothers James and David Dunwell alongside old school friends Rob Clayton and Adam Taylor come together to create The Dunwells. Famed for their fusion of acoustic and electric instruments they released their highly anticipated second album ‘Light Up The Sky’ towards the end of February this year.

Expanding on their established sound and adding a breath of fresh air with the emphasis on clever songwriting and blending their genres creating a unique mix, balancing indie rock with folk and incorporating a host of other sounds. It would have been easy for The Dunwells to focus on the standard folk and Americana career path yet they concentrated on pushing boundaries and establishing their transition towards their unique mixture of musical styles. One of the key elements that come across in Light Up The Sky is the passion that comes through in the heartfelt lyrics, ignore the cliché but it creates an emotional rollercoaster, covering honesty and desire to the struggles of everyday life.

They pride themselves on universal themes that affect everyone, creating easily accessible music like the album opener Lucky ones. A combination of the electric instruments accompanied by raw, honest lyrics and being one of the quicker songs on the album ensures it could easily be a huge hit live. It isn’t hard to imagine crowds chanting the memorable chorus with as much conviction as The Dunwells deliver it with.  A humble outlook on life with a haunting melody it could be considered a darker track, but ultimately it’s inspiring and real mood lifter.

However, whilst there are a number of songs on the album those feature the more upbeat tempo possibly as homage to the folk roots; there are still numerous songs that emphasise the passion and profound sound The Dunwells are synonymous with.  Notably, ‘Will You Wait For Me’ and ‘Ghosts’ focus on the big choruses and giving the opportunity to really let vocal ranges spiral. Ghosts is a beautiful ballad about taking risks whilst Will You Wait For Me allows harmonies to come to the forefront in a moving song, almost resembling a hymn.

A few of their songs have previously been featured on released EPs including Communicate on Show Me Emotion in late 2014. With a soothing melody the track again focusing heavily on the lyrical prowess the brothers have, blending to create one powerful voice. Communicate being their most streamed song on Spotify by some distance; it’s clearly been very impactful in establishing their sound. Quintessentially, it encapsulates the sound of The Dunwells with the chorus highlighting the cohesion within the band. It’s clear the harmonies are integral, as it reinforces the strong bond that the bands roots lie within, despite the changes within the line-up.

The relationship within the band is key; it comes across in their music and their live performances alongside the energy and passion they have for their distinctive sound. The Dunwells have grown since 2009, both in terms of the scope of their audience alongside their musical talent and maturity. With a number of live shows announced already for 2016 including some European dates only good things can come for The Dunwells, and as the providing the much needed innovative and fresh take on music, they will undoubtedly become even more successful than they already are.

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