Building on the spark created by his delicate folk debut, Luke Sital-Singh’s new album Time Is a Riddle has burst into a confident flame; with him seemingly more focused on his musicality, and developing a sound that is wholly his.
By Katie Manning
The album opens with Still, a reminder of Sital-Singh’s earlier work, as it’s a track originally from his 2015 EP The Breakneck Speed of Tomorrow. Sital-Singh says the song was a turning point for him as a time of doubt and fear came together, and it seems symbolically positioned as the first track, confirming his return to the scene.
Following this is Oh My God, where Sital-Singh’s angsty voice stays at the forefront of the track. However, this is a step forward from the acoustic days, as his voice is surrounded by powerful instrumentation and backing vocals – his vulnerability is still present, but the frailty is gone.
This change is particularly evident in the edgier Rough Diamond Falls. A hard electric guitar, backing organ, and a choired chorus give this song a Fleetwood Mac-esque kind of vibe, and it adds muscle to Sital-Singh’s sound to become a compelling stand out song.
Later, emotion continues to seep out of tracks, such as in Cynic, which is a pause from the meatier sounds. Sital-Singh returns to the basics in this old-folk style song; it’s done beautifully with just his vocals and a single dreamy backing tone, adding texture occasionally with percussion to highlight certain moments. It’s clearly a sign of an evolution from his earlier naked guitar to a more mature artist.
Title track Time is a Riddle is the one Sital-Singh says unlocked the album for him, helping to dispel his writer’s block. The ballad feels like the focal point of the record, drawing attention to the forceful piano, and it is a crescendo of pent up worry.
Closing song Slow Down is, once again, centred on a main vocal, but it is much more pained as Sital-Singh pleads “slow down, you’re my love darling, it’s enough darling”. As the song grows, this statement is enveloped in a symphony, but when the drums quicken, the romantic reassurance becomes more frantic, before climaxing in a whirl of shimmering sounds and strings. However, the album ultimately comes to its end, before peacefully fading out.
With this album, Luke Sital-Singh is moving forward through his musical path with a sound that can only fill the bigger rooms he’s currently in demand for. His song-writing remains poetic, but has stepped forward to become more experimental alongside his production, adding new depth to his sound. The record is not perfect, consisting of mostly mid-paced songs which can make it seem long to listen to – however, it is bolder than earlier work, and filled with beautiful melody.
Time Is A Riddle by Luke Sital-Singh is available now.