Siân Alex – Henry (self-released)

Siân Alex – Henry (self-released)

Siân Alex may be better known for her work as Gold Baby but with the second of her recent solo releases, Henry, the multi-instrumentalist shows her songwriting through a different lens. 

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Sian AlexArtist: Siân Alex
Track: Henry
Label: Self-released
Released: 9 July 2020
Find it: Bandcamp | Spotify

There is a feeling which comes over me so often. More than nostalgia, not quite the same as a yearning. A homesickness for a time more than a place. Longing to get back the days, unshoulder the burdens of adulthood, and sink into something which can never be regained. Hiraeth, some might say, but it’s hard to explain. We are all attached to our individual past in such different ways.

The latest single from Siân Alex gets close. Henry, she says, is about roughly inspired by her childhood home on Henry Street in Nottingham. She writes on Bandcamp, “My brother, sisters and I were lucky enough to grow up on Henry Road, a leafy suburban street in West Bridgford, Nottingham. We moved in when I was three and my Dad is planning on moving out soon, but the songs not got much to do with that.

“I started this song a few years ago, getting home there drunk, wandering around the house and thinking about the significance of places – how they can change with the people who inhibit them, how the way we see them can say more about what’s going on inside us than anything else and how we can rally against them when really we’re fighting ourselves….Anyway a friend always says it’s funny how we talk about our childhood home like it’s a person. I guess it is. This one’s for you, Henry.”

‘Henry you were made for me / Born and built and broke for me / Henry you caught it all / Soaked it up and took my punches’

Beyond the inspiration from her childhood home there are a number of musical ideas threaded through the track. There is the break from singing for the house to reply as if in correspondence and there are samples or field recordings all adding colour and depth. They weave in and out through the comforting constant of quality songwriting and musicianship, through beautiful layers of instrumentation and harmony.

The result of it all is a song full of longing but not quite melancholy, of unpicking the past rather than letting memory consume you, and in a musical sense a track which shows off the skills not just a timeless songwriter but a burgeoning producer as well.

Along with previous single Blizz, Henry has sat waiting for its time to come since being recorded in 2018. Hopefully there is more to surface from the sessions in what is becoming a collection of contemplative and folk-tinged songs.

Find Siân Alex: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram | Bandcamp | Spotify

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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