The Little Unsaid is probably a name many of you would not have come across before. The name has been the pseudonym for composer, producer, singer songwriter multi-instrumentalist John Elliott since his debut album Someone Else’s Lullabies back in 2010. As his music has developed it has become obvious that a band would be required to bring out the full potential of his complex take on folk, alt-rock and electronica. The Little Unsaid “The Band” were thus born, seeing Elliott (vocals/guitar/keys) joined by Tim Heymerdinger (drums), Mariya Brachkova (synths/keys/bv) and Alison D’Souza (strings) for a string of albums culminating in their latest collaboration Lick The Future’s Lips. Recorded by Grace Banks in East London with the band being together for just one week between lockdowns it focuses on themes of impermanence and constant change but finds them in surprisingly upbeat mood and looking to a future beyond restrictions.
Trying to pin down The Little Unsaid sound is almost impossible but this is definitely their most diverse collection to date. ‘Flux’ opens with the bands signature rhythms before the pace quickens telling tales of times of change and this finds them in familiar musical territory and continues with a sound that could have been plucked from previous album Atomise (2019). The reason that The Little Unsaid move people emotionally with their music and lyrics is the link they have to the listener’s experiences and this is well displayed in ‘Bug In Amber’. I’m sure we can all associate with it’s lyrical portrayal of isolation and entrapment. When Elliott takes things back to basics it only adds to the intensity of the performance and ‘Bloodline’ is solid proof of this fact. Swinging gently along on Tim Heymerdinger’s brush work coupled with soft rolling acoustic guitar. If Bob Dylan is the songwriter’s songwriter John Elliott is his spiritual son and ‘The Great Nowhere’ bears this out with shades of Bob underpinning it’s “Chin Up” message. The opening electronic beats carry the timbre of ‘Limitless’ and its multi layered vocal and strings build within that beat to give a most ethereal feel taking the audience to a place of contemplation and meditation. If you thought the album was quite wordy up till this point then ‘New Year’s Eve’ takes this to another level. A song of two halves starting with the rise and fall of the opening syncopated “Ocean Bound” section leading into Elliott’s spoken word almost rapped conclusion with the second “Moth Wings For Eyes” closing section. There is only one word for this song… Intense! Just when you thought you had a handle on The Little Unsaid’s formula they go and throw you a curve ball (or two) and ‘Act Of Vengeance’ is just such a side swipe. Out and out pop with it’s cheery vocal, tambourine and surfer boy bounce it’s easy to miss the attitude within its lyrics which celebrate sticking it to “The Man”. Back to traditional storyteller mode for the piano led ‘In Daylight’, it is 100% atmosphere. Rolling funky bass leads ‘Some Miracle’ along before punchy staccato piano punctuates the track which acts to exaggerate the contrast to the albums second curve ball ‘Half Alive’. The band are often put into musical pigeon holes but rarely produce anything quite so country as this penultimate track. It really is just one lap steel solo short of being a Grand Ole Opry classic in both tone and in its perspective on life and relationships that have passed you by. As though we hadn’t already been to enough random places we end our journey in a late night/early morning bar for ‘Pass The Time’. Reminiscing over where the time has gone and regretting it will be over far to soon… and for this episode it is.
Absence certainly does make the heart grow fonder for this band so once they managed to take those brief moments between lockdowns to lay down these tracks the performances greatly benefited from their obvious excitement and energy. Although as usual this album goes to many darker places everything here is written from a place of hope and celebration for the future. To their fans The Little Unsaid are much more than just a group of gifted musicians and that is why over 150 of them invested in this project back in September 2020 and why many of those pledgers joined the band online from around the world to showed their appreciation of the album at its zoom listening party on 17th June 2021. This is a band at the top of their game and shows their most eclectic mix of sounds to date. For those looking for something completely different.
- Reviewed By Peter Brockwell
- Released Through Reveal Records On 9th July 2021
- Official Website
2.Bug In Amber
4.The Great Nowhere
6.New Year’s Eve
7.Act Of Vengeance
11.Pass The Time