EP REVIEW: The Early Purple - Summer Hide
Burgeoning north-east music scene has another bright prospect
The north-east of England is having a purple patch on the music front. Sam Fender sits atop the scene from a purely popular perspective, with the likes of Richard Dawson, Field Music (and David Brewis as a solo artist) and Brooke Bentham doing great things too.
Over time, The Early Purple – the project of Matt Saxon – could be added to the list. Firmly ensconced within the scene for over a decade, Saxon’s ‘Hide and Speak’ podcast has featured guest appearances from Fender, Dawson and Bentham, and he has been a touring musician with Little Comets, The Dawdler and Grandfather Birds.
With lockdown curtailing tours, Saxon used the opportunity to create his own music and, having released a couple of singles which received airplay on BBC 6 Music, Summer Hide is his debut EP.
Imagine Orlando Weeks fronting the Fleet Foxes and you’ll get a feel for what Saxon has created on the EP – the one outlier being opening track, ‘Outro’, which is an inviting song led by a harmonium sound similar to that in Kathryn Joseph’s ‘what is keeping you alive makes me want to kill them for’. Saxon sings ‘no one how it feels around you’ and the intimacy of the lyrics is matched by the warmth of feeling listening in.
First single ‘Summer Hide’ is reminiscent of Fleet Foxes’s ‘Quiet Houses’ and finds Saxon reflecting on the solace he finds in nature with him singing ‘looking above so I find hope’.
‘The Morning’ begins with perky, plucked acoustic guitar as Saxon describes the concern he has for a friend while latest single, ‘Big Mistake’, is a social commentary about his hometown of Blyth and his feelings about it becoming a Conservative area, having forever been a Labour stronghold. The acoustic guitar is suitably mournful here.
Finally, ‘Giant’ is a folk song which could be one from Saxon’s friend, Richard Dawson’s collection as he leans into his accent more than in the previous tracks, while there are pleasing shades of The Shins in the acoustic guitar arrangements.
Summer Hide is a strong opening salvo which puts The Early Purple firmly in the category of ‘ones to watch’.
Summer Hide is released this Friday (12 May)