I’ve said it before on Sonic Breakfast but I’m no fan of Autumn in the UK. I know that others love the season; they delight in stomping through the mushy leaves at the side of the road whilst ticking off purchases from their Christmas list. I just find it bleak. As the days get shorter, colder and generally uglier, the sense of loss pervades. I am so glad that, last year, my extended stay in Spain meant I’d have to face one less UK Autumn in my life.
Bristol’s Sugarmoon get it. Their folk-pop gem, Autumn Leaves, artfully captures a strained relationship on the edge of decay. The love is dying though there’s hope that this might be rekindled by the Springtime. Gently paced and delightfully delivered, it’s a tune laden with loss. It’s beautifully maudlin, made so by a combination of Sophie Jones’ calm, restrained vocal and the minor chords of the keyboard.
Sophie’s vocal was very nearly not part of this track at all. It was circumstance that thrust her into the limelight for this song. Guitarist Ryan McMurtry, who wrote the track, says: “I lost my voice right at the start of the first lockdown in April and we had a live stream planned, so we changed the key of Autumn Leaves and Sophie sang it. We were all blown away by how it sounded, so we just kept it like that when recording!”
The video to ‘Autumn Leaves’, a collection of old family footage found in the attic at Sophie’s Grandparents’ house, adds to the atmosphere. Sporadic memories, bittersweet moments, day trips in Wales and a look back to times that were simpler, happier and more civil.
I ask Ryan what’s the first thing he’ll do when lockdown eases. “Hopefully, the first thing we’ll do on june 21st is play some music together!”, he says. “And dish out the hugs 🙂 how about you?”
There are hugs a-plenty on offer in Autumn Leaves and there’s more to come from Sugarmoon at the end of March. The days are getting longer and things are on the up.