Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to Scarlet Mill’s latest single, Sinking Man, taken from their forthcoming second album.
We previously reviewed the band’s single, Port Henry; a storytelling folk murder ballad with hints of Classic Rock, so we were super-excited to see their name hit the top of our reviews pile again today.
Scarlet Mill are a Dutch duo of Jennifer Moesker (vocals, piano, organ, synths) and Erik Verhoef (vocals, guitar, bass and drums).
We love the storytelling feel that Scarlet Mill’s music has. This song, like Port Henry, has a Nick Cave/ Kylie Minogue Murder Ballad feel to it. Speaking of the connection between the songs, Scarlet Mill say;
“Sinking Man is the next episode in the story to be unfolded in full only on Scarlet Mill’s upcoming second album. Whilst the male protagonist has found shelter in Port Henry and entrenched himself in a secluded and windy harbour to contemplate his evil deeds, his odyssey will soon take an ominous turn. Seeking solace in booze, scraping together his income as a session musician in the harbour café, he ends up penniless and intoxicated and embarks on an old rusty ship with questionable cargo. In hazy and feverish dreams images of better times pass by, with his great love. Regret consumes his soul and so he falls to his doom on a drunken night.”
Sinking Man begins on some beautifully played classical-style piano. The sound of waves in the distance joins the mix and for a moment, the song feels calm and peaceful. The sound of distant muted trumpet, crowd noise and pandemonium are then added, and there’s a deeply ominous sense before the main theme of the song starts at around 1 minute in.
The song changes to a brushed drum 6/8 rhythm with some very gentle acoustic guitar strums and a tremolo guitar which adds to the slightly uncomfortable feel. Layered vocals here are superbly mixed together with female and male taking an octave apart. As this section progresses, some additional harmonies are added in.
The all-important second verse adds in some perfectly placed piano fills, reminding us very slightly of Chris Rea’s style.
Guest saxophonist, Maarten Verhoef, adds a wonderfully mournful and melancholy sax solo which is slow, gentle and uncluttered with beautiful piano fills in between sections.
As the song progresses further, a Hammond organ adds to the sound, droning away in the background and adding a further touch of menace with its tremolo effects. The song has some very subtle rise and fall with instruments coming and going throughout. A key change into the final instrumental section is a superb touch.
The production on this track is superb with a very smooth balance of frequencies, making it an extremely pleasant and comfortable listen. Despite being over 6 minutes long, this is a track which holds the listeners’ attention right to the end.
We’re growing to really love the work of Scarlet Mill. Creative, highly original storytelling and thought-provoking songs that you can really get lost in. Great stuff!