Personnel: Jamie Sefton (horns); Stephanie Fraser (background vocals).
Arranger: Joseph Lyons.
The debut album from Leeds-based singer/songwriter Joseph Lyons, better known by his architecturally minded nom de plume Eaves, the Heavenly-issued What Green Feels Like feels like an amalgam of Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley, Villagers, Ryley Walker, and Nick Drake; a windswept and picturesque postcard of a record with more than a little brown around the edges that suggests an old soul in a lithe, post-adolescent frame. Lyons possesses a powerful voice that can go from bluesy and blustery to quietly pained in a manner of seconds, and his songs follow suit. At just nine tracks, What Green Feels Like never overstays its welcome, but that has less to do with brevity and more to do with variety. Lyons, a professed prog-metal fan, peppers his folkier moments with muscularity and his meatier ones with ghostly ambience, resulting in something that feels both preternatural and deeply rooted in the now. Lead cut and first single "Pylons," and to a lesser extent the alternately propulsive and pastoral follow-up "Dove in Your Mouth," are all about tension and release, and to Lyons' credit, he never really succumbs to either, preferring instead to keep both feet dancing in different directions, resulting in something that feels both remarkably self-assured and knowingly callow. The softer bits ("Spin," "Alone in My Mind"), though often steeped in retro folk-rock tropes, manage that same feat, due in large part to Lyons' confident guitar playing and open-hearted delivery. What Green Feels Like is a curiously authoritative opening statement, especially considering the fact that it arrives via the volatile head space of an artist barely into his twenties. It takes its time seeping in, but when it does, it manages to both promise and deliver great things. ~ James Christopher Monger