Find Me An Angel

Full name Dilys Uwagboe, I was captivated by this lady’s voice and songs when she performed at a South West London songwriters’ show in a church ( Sargeant in a church ?? well it was for the music – PS)
Now here comes this album featuring a lovely picture of our chanteuse and a set of compositions put together with Duncan McDowall and Robin Barter and first thing to say is that it’s not an Adele style ‘feel sorry for me’ misery-go-round. D’Iys seems a lovely person, forgiving me when I confessed to dropping the album she sent me into a cup of tea at home – it’s OK, I bought two more !
Her voice is best described as softly strong, perhaps – imagine a far less harsh Joan Armatrading and you’re close. Melodic and soaring, D’lys does her own vocal backing on this set. The quietly punching opener ‘Lost Boy’ mixes damped guitar chords, pattering drumming, fuzzy strings over a busy rhythm as she sings a plaintive tale, the overall backing being a pulsing dream-like platform. ‘Find Me An Angel’ is sombre in mood but not depressing, very acoustic in ensemble sound and reminding me of the late Minnie Riperton in soft mode, the beat being close-ish to Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’. Another artist might have oversung this one.
‘Eyes Wide Open’ is a weirdly–tempo’d almost nursery rhyme piece, settling into a plinky-plonk piano arrangement..doesn’t quite connect with me, it’s a tad unsettlting.
‘Beyond Goodbye’ is a beautiful and clearly sung, a lilting mid-tempo ballad. A Hammond part would have made sense on this one and added warmth. But it’s a lithe number and D’lys makes it work ; ‘Break The Chain’ is a slowie letting her voice slip,into heartbreak(ing) mode, the band pounding in after a minute or so. Weirdly reminds me of U2, not sure why.
Perhaps the best vocal performance here is found on the rolling melody of ‘Maybe Fading’, the backing stately and measured.
‘Do You Know’ should have been a duet with a male voice, but has a winning insistent electric guitar part and emphatic rhythm. Asked about D’lys, I would play this cut to illustrate her style, there’s something warmly quirky and Continental about it all. ‘Lullaby’ has thundering drums and metal guitars….just kidding, D ! it’s a piano-led relaxed and soothing track.
‘Tea & Toast’ – just what every muso wants once home from a gig – channels D’lys’ Nina Simone side – whether she’s aware of it or not. At the right moment the band stealthily join in moving the song away from its hint of Queen into a listenable song, though the guitar run is a bit tame. ‘Closer ‘Home’ has Public Symphony tinge as it’s a chilled late summery piece and off drifts the set.
Wonderfully sung and sympathetically played, this collection lacks a couple of uptempo songs to make it more varied, but everything included is melodic and well-crafted

Pete Sargeant