Alex Southey is an extremely prolific writer/performer and Common Fantasies is another selection of songs from him to keep his audience on their toes and to keep them guessing. Although he is known to be part of the alt-folk scene, he is much more than that. His past few releases have seen him taking chances and really demonstrating his ability to successfully dip into other genres. Common Fantasies comes on the heels of two singles (“Soften” and “Open Season”) that appear on the EP and fit nicely. The songs are excellent teasers but do not represent the sound of Common Fantasies. However, that is not a criticism, Southey knows what he is doing in terms of creating and packaging his music.
Once again, Southey writes all the lyrics and music and he comes up with a few surprises on Common Fantasies. It opens with the heavy “Come And See”. With a deceptive tranquil opening, this song tears it up with grinding guitars and heavy drumming. It is a different side to Southey and certainly not what one expects from an artist who is known for his more folky sound. But it is a great song and a great way to introduce the EP. The song ends as it begins and leads the way and opens the door to the rest of the EP.
The title track, “Common Fantasies” is next and is, in this reviewer’s opinion, the strongest track on the EP. It says a great deal and has a fantastic melody, that is both current and retro at the same time. It features a strong melody and the lyrics are fitting and fantastic. “Soften” follows and what is interesting is how all the first three songs sound so different, yet fit together. “Soften”, again, tips its hat to the past without Southey copying any song or artist. It is a rocking affair and has, again, a very strong melody that instantly burrows itself into the brain. It is a perfect single.
“Twist It” is more of what one expects from Southey. A beautiful acoustic, stripped down number with sparse lyrics that say a great deal. This is part of Southey’s charm. He writes songs that sound sparse and simple, when the songs are really quite complex and layered. “Open Season” is next and it is back to the alt-rock band. Again, it has a lot going on and says a great deal.
Common Fantasies is a great EP from a very talented artist. Southey has released a great deal and it seems he grows with every EP or album. He has come a long way since his early albums and singles. Again, not putting down his early work, but he clearly has developed as an artist and continues to grow. Common Fantasies is the work of a maturing artist. As good as it is (and it is great) one cannot think about what is coming next from this artist.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ALEX SOUTHEY – COMMON FANTASIES