Saunder Jurriaans
Following a decade writing scores alongside Danny Bensi for some of the most watched TV shows and films over that period, and releasing albums as part of Tarantula and Priestbird, Saunder Jurriaans is stepping out of the shadows to put his name front and centre for the first time. I’d only heard one of the songs, the single ‘Easy Now’, before reading Jurriaans claim that “putting out music this intimate is scary”.  Armed with that piece of information and my enjoyment of ‘Easy Now’ I began my journey into ‘Beasts’.

From just the opening few moments of the first song ‘All Just Talkin’ I’m confronted with an almost claustrophobic feeling, thanks to the prominent low end energy from the bass and a guitar line that sounds like it’s shackled to the song despite its desperate attempts to escape. Combined with the various and changing percussion sounds and haunting strings, these opening three minutes pack in more nuance than many artists manage in their entire career. This is even before the song breaks down and moves to an almost trance inducing repetition, “All just talkin, don’t say nothing”. The scene is very much set for what’s to come.

‘A Different Shade Of The Same’, the second track, is the first to feature some moments that hint at being joyous and uplifting, again making excellent use of the emotive power of strings, but a sombre undertone is ever-present, as it continues to be throughout.

It’s understandable that ‘Easy Now’ was chosen as a single from the album, of all the songs it feels the most conventional and self-contained. It maintains the melancholy introduced in the songs ahead of it on the track-list, but with just a tiny hint of hope.

Saunder Jurriaans - BeastsGiven the volume of composition Jurriaans has done for film in the past decade, it is perhaps unsurprising that every note of the album feels carefully considered and placed exactly where it ought to be to provoke the sentiment he’s seeking. I can’t be sure if it’s a reflection on me or the work, but more than any other album I’ve listened to recently this one feels like a journey and not simply a collection of songs.

‘Beasts’ is not a raucous party album and is unlikely to find itself soundtracking any upcoming family gatherings. Much like a stereotypical introvert you’ll find in a film or television series, these songs do not jump up and demand that you take notice, but they have a lot to give if you’re prepared to give them your undivided attention for 45 minutes.

The final words sung on the final song ‘Miles To Go’ are as good an indication of what’s inside as anything else I could write here:

“I’m rolling pictures into cigarettes, I’m smoking the ones I want to forget. You can sit beside me if you’ve got your regrets, I’m sorry I can’t share it’s all I’ve got left. My eyelids may be closed but I can see all too clear, I’ve got miles to go before I sleep”

Saunder Jurriaans – ‘Beasts’ is released via Decca on September 18th

 Saunder Jurriaans Official | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Adam Smith

Silent Radio Editor-in-chief. Watching excellently crafted live music is one of the great pleasures I get to enjoy. Having too often seen excellent bands fail to garner the attention I believe they deserve, I'm here to spread the good word of the under-appreciated musical performer. I encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same. Get in touch if you'd like to do that here.