Never Joy is not a grower – it’s love at first listen. But can this debut album from frighteningly talented 18 year old Ed Tullet be the real thing?
Clearly Ed wears his influences on his sleeve. ‘Silver Dive’, ‘Teeth’ and ‘Mezzanine’ all have roll and repeat guitar strumming combined with falsetto vocals and a slow build which owe much to the alt-folk artists who’ve done so well in recent years. Never Joy was written, recorded and produced entirely in one room (a nod to Bon Iver’s ‘Emma, Forever Ago’ recorded entirely in a cabin perhaps).
As the album progresses, you can hear a process, a growth in confidence as Ed becomes himself. By track 5 you could well be smitten: ‘Faker Death’ begins slowly, a haunting banjo riff makes an appearance, Ed sings (in deeper tones this time) and is joined by the uncommonly beautiful voice of Ffion Atkinson. This is the standout track on the album, the one you’ll play on repeat. In ‘Thaw’ Ed really shows his vocal range – a combination of fragility and power and in ‘OD’ the lyrics sound mature, not that of someone still cutting his teeth. A download of the digital album reveals 3 extra untitled tracks which see him really blossom.
Whether there’s enough material on here that sounds entirely unique is the question and Never Joy may well get lost in the crowds of new folk releases every week. When Ed trusts his own style, his music moves from lovely to outstanding. Only time will tell whether this is infatuation or something longer lasting.
Listen to and Buy the album: