It’s funny that Manchester songwriter Alf Whitby’s artwork always features nature. His songs suspend you in a silence similar to that experienced by neighbours looking out at a blood moon, a solar eclipse, a crimson sky. You just stand and admire, watch it play out in front of you. Words cannot suffice.
‘Mountain (For Change)’ is the most forthright of the three singles to come from forthcoming debut ‘Sistine Dreams’, the swell of its second half swallowing you whole. Whitby’s voice acts like a gusty swirl, occasionally unintelligible, he layers its rises and falls elevating it to an instrument all its own. Though initially you might compare it to Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe, it’s more Anohni by the end, when he declares “I want it all / your grandmother’s throw / the honeycomb pillow / your favourite bowl”, his words carry the power of a fire burning inside finally given air. A song about the precarity of love, Whitby penned it after seeing the end of a close friend’s relationship that to him looked like everything he ever wanted. “That’s why love’s the sacrificial stone / The precipice I groaned to / The hardest to leap off”, he sings.
‘Sistine Dreams’ is out March 13 on My Little Empire.