Artist: Searching For Sylvia
Track: The Ladder from the EP The Ladder
Genre: Power Pop / Alt. Rock / Americana
Searching For Sylvia are an extremely talented and impressive group hailing from Rotherham, UK; not an overly glamorous base for the band having the rather dubious distinction of being one of the most deprived areas in the north of England, despite this the music generated from this part of the UK is delightfully positive and full of spark, associated with artists such as Joe Cocker, Def Leppard, Human League and other artists respectfully. The Alternative Rock / Americana style band echoes such acts such as Big Star, The Gin Blossoms, Teenage Fanclub and newer influences alike. The group consists of members; Pete Sheldon playing Guitars and Lead Vocals, Andy Hartley on Bass and Vocals, Ian Higginbottom on Guitar and also on Vocals, Keith Lund on Drums and Chris Copper- Percussion; this current line-up was cemented after years of individual struggle with their own various project, they developed a vehicle and form to combine and perform their vast collection of songs and with this line-up the band have progressed enormously with their sound and style. Their many years of relentless gigging is beginning to pay dividends as they’re honing in on the specific sound they wish to create musically.
‘The Ladder’ is the opening track from Searching For Sylvia’s very first EP with the same name released in May 2011 recorded with producer Steve Ellis at Orion Studios in their home town of Rotherham. The introduction of this track is an impressive opening into the unique world of Searching For Sylvia with an instantaneously catchy lead guitar riff and a tasty hook, making for a dazzling intro from this British quintet. The instrumentation is infectious and potent leading to a perfect start to ‘The Ladder’ creating Rock with a melodic overcoat of Power Pop with an edge of Ballsy Americana. After this dazzling introductory riff the lead vocals are introduced with Pete Sheldon’s powerful voice and the backing vocals of Andy Hartley and Ian Higginbottom creating a strongly compelling layered vocal line forming an interesting edge. The Ladder’s exceedingly intelligent and polished lyrics begin with the lines; ‘Always said you had no fear, even first when the water’s not that clear. When you looked like going down, you always find a friend to bring you back around.’
The lyrics and vocal tone are striking and the prominent spark and talent that shines throughout the track with enticing lines and phrases fitting perfectly with the melodic tone of the voice, however after about the first minute or so it does becomes quite repetitive and relatively monotone, thinking with retrospect of the introduction of ‘The Ladder’. The song is conveyed like a rough diamond, there just needs to be some tweaks and improvements to perfect the composition and to achieve the full potential of the track; slight adjustments need to be made to the tempo and to the speed of the actual track with different timing changes being introduced to encapsulate the listener to a deeper degree, because as ‘The Ladder’ continues the whole structure becomes quite dull and instantly makes the listener disinterested, due to the track seemingly continuing on the same musical level, there desperately needs to be a huge injection of exuberance and energy, as atmospherically the track isn’t overly thrilling or innovative, becoming a huge drawback to ‘The Ladder’, as this Rotherham quintet need more drive and excitement to thrive and shine through each and every note to entice and enthral the audience even more so, otherwise the group get lost amongst the many other Americana styled and inspired musicians mimicking that typical Americana sound and fail to convey any fresh and innovatively inspiring music.
Searching For Sylvia are evidently a talented British group with depth and maturity, more specifically within the lyrics as they hone in impeccably with the art of song writing, a joy that is configured throughout the track, creating a mixture of classic guitar music joining forces with the lyrically thoughtful and original phrases. Although ‘The Ladder’ does become quite lacklustre as it endures, an aspect I was extremely disappointed to encounter, despite this fact they produce exceedingly tight instrumentation with notable influences across a wide spectrum of music and genres, noticeably heard throughout the entirety of the track itself and The Ladder EP; essentially including eclectic guitar-driven Americana Rock with true Pop sensibilities. The fundamentals of the track are relatively positive, it basically needs slight polishing as they need to continue to define their brand of honest and catchy Alternative Rock Americana / Power Pop.
Similar Artists: Big Star, Gigolo Aunts, The Gin Blossoms, Teenage Fanclub, Be-Bop Deluxe.