Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from S J Denney. High Flying Birds was released on 27th January 2023.

Speaking of the inspiration for the song, Denney says, “One evening, I met up with a friend who was telling me about something they were going through. As soon as I got home, I picked up a guitar and the song was born.”

We’ve previously reviewed Denney a couple of times with his tracks, I Don’t Know If This Changes Things and All I’ve Ever Known. We’ve always been thoroughly impressed with Denney’s ability to pick just the right solo instrument to lift his songs into a whole new dimension. Previously utilising some glorious muted trumpet in I Don’t Know If This Changes Things and fantastic harmonica in All I’ve Ever Known, Denney has done it again on High Flying Birds – this time using panpipes as the solo instrument.

The song starts with a strings-led section with lots of extra instrumentation and a full band sound that then leads into the first verse. Denney’s voice has character and a great deal of personality. You can hear his English accent and there’s a nasality that reminded us of Liam Gallagher.

The piano fills and the use of brush snare in this track are delightful touches. The strings are positively cinematic and the layered vocals fill out the sound in places superbly.

High Flying Birds floats along with a dreamy optimism and a folky nostalgia before drifting off into the distance with some absolutely stunning cello panned to the left, a touch of gentle piano and the final lyric line,

Ideas from our ears
A fairly large boost across the bottom 3 octaves would increase the warmth and fullness in the track. A cut centred around 400Hz would reduce some slightly ‘boxy’ tones. A wider boost centred around 4kHz would increase the presence and definition in the track. Finally, a light compressor/limiter and a little make-up gain would add to the warmth as well as raising the overall volume. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

SJ Denney keeps us on our toes with his exciting blend of singer-songwriter/ art rock. We are constantly impressed with his choices of instrumentation to match the mood and tone of each song and with High Flying Birds, the addition of Carlos Carty on panpipes is an inspired decision.