One would hope The Small Changes Diaries is a familiar name to you. Uke festival favourites and a ukulele band who reach far beyond that label into the wider folk music world this four piece showstopper of a band have wowed Uke Planet before with their utterly professional sound of ukuleles, upright bass, percussion and notable male and female vocals.
Good news indeed then that they are back with a proverbial wallop with “Lullabies For Cynics”, a 12 track album of beautifully written original songs, this time featuring some rather splendid guest stars don’t you know!
Vocals are shared between Nick Cody and Jessica Bowie, their harmonious sections gelling as one exquisitely. The Beautiful South fan in me adores the question and answer style of Kicking Down The Doors. Indeed this is a rather special song based on the pop song classic chord progression of I–V–vi–IV but growing so much as the song moves along, diving into 6/8 with a silky slide melody, flipping back and forth to the chorus and always building before the quiet autumnal ending left hanging in the ether. It’s an utterly superb song. A Perfect 10.
The first guest star appears on track 4, slightly ironically titled then as Not One Of Us. Laurent Zeller is the lucky chap who makes his mark here with some sensational violin playing adding another string to the orchestration (sorry, I couldn’t resist) infusing even more tonal colour which re-surges in Draw You Out and Birdman 2017, an intriguing song title if I ever heard one.
Sleepy Kev Bishop adds dazzling harmonica to Slow News Day, a sexy slow boozy blues tune that also showcases the legendary talents of Phil Doleman. Phil also lends his impeccable skills to Voodoo Doll, a similarly slinky dalliance with the blues.
The musicianship here is plainly stuffed with ability, the flow of Rich Ferdinando’s percussion and creamy style of Adrian Knowle’s bass providing a sturdy and complimentary musical carpet on which to seat the rest of the creativity. Beyond this however the album has its own poise of inventive and discerning song writing flair. One can tell each song has been crafted carefully with great thought and attention to every single chord change. This is a production fused from natural gift and thoughtful dedication.
Without exception the songs of “Lullabies For Cynics” are stunningly good. This melting pot of talent has produced a truly first rate album you simply must hear.