Hester Denney

Life ain’t easy. It has ups and downs that have an influence on our thoughts, emotions, and decisions. In his EP “The Moods That Follow,” S J Denney gives us a musical perspective on circumstances in life where we can feel heard while savoring the sound felicity of ethereal rock.

The UK-based singer/songwriter, S J Denney, is no stranger to me as I got to know him when I listened to and reviewed his single “And Then You Wonder,” and I still remember the sunshine effect on a grey day his music had, which he obviously still has. 

The aptly titled EP “The Moods That Follow” surely sets a different mood after listening to each one of the four tracks that it includes. It captures a certain thought or feeling that most of us have had at some point in our lives, and it conveys its mood through the heart-felt lyricism, scrumptious arrangements, and his velvet vocals, with their exquisite delivery, that are sometimes accompanied by Roisin O’Hagan’s angelic harmonies.

The EP opens soothingly with “The Art of the Possible” and its natural wave sound and mellow, relaxing notes intro. It has a positive vibe that is mixed with a sad fact, as it gives you hope that anything is possible and that you can go far, but it also warns you that your pursuit will cost you in your personal relationships. The guitar chords and bass line make a dreamy team that is structured to put you in a peaceful mood. S J Denney’s vocals are profound and convey the single’s sensations as usual. He tenderly delivers the knotted thoughts with harmonious backing vocals. The saxophone solo, along with soulful strings, was a heavenly touch.

Moving to “A Silent Scream,” which has a darker theme but is offered by a lighthearted arrangement. It’s relatable to whoever had to put a happy mask on their faces while they’re internally struggling. S J Denney’s vocal performance has a melancholic timbre, yet it’s wrapped up with an aspiring tone that doesn’t want to be “stuck at the moment,” but rather, “leave this all behind me with a smile.” The instrumentation agrees with his voice, being both gloomy and sparkly. All of the instruments feel like they’re sensing the temper in both the vocals and lyrics and embodying it.

“I Don’t Know if This Changes Things?” Isn’t that a question we all ask? It opens with a sunny intro with the rays of delicate piano notes and percussion. It’s nice to wonder about what’s coming, hopefully thinking that “there’s a new day to come tomorrow” in the display of melodic sonic bliss. The optimistic lyrics are written like a perfect picture that showcases the heart’s desired scene. The bright vocal delivery helps you feel that there’s a light even if you can’t see it yet. The track features a solo of passionate, muffled trumpet; soulful flugelhorn; and a taste of the Japanese koto.

For a special ending, the EP closes with an Indian style in “In the Dying Light.” While the previous singles took us on an emotional rollercoaster between sad-ish relatable lyricism and feel-good arrangements, we end things spiritually with an Indian-inspired devout ambiance. You can get lost in the song’s meditative mood because of the vocal line’s intensity and raw emotion.

Just when you think you have to say goodbye to this atmospheric EP, you find the artist leaving you a hidden gem. There’s a short track entitled “On a Lighter Note,” which follows the closing track, “In the Dying Light,” and it is drenched in affectionate glam all over its elements. It’s the ideal ending because it describes how this EP will impact your day; it’ll give you a lighter note that polishes it and boost your energy.

Enjoy the mesmerizing journey with its tense sensations, realistic perspective, and yet dreamy imagination.