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Simply stunning.

…and that’s where the beauty of ‘The Great Outdoors‘ lies: its simplicity. Like a tranquil pastoral scene, Thom Byles‘ intricate acoustic picking drifts through a sparse landscape, billowing occasionally to gentle peaks. Handling his six-string acoustic with delicacy and rigour, the underlying rhythm never occupies more space than necessary and production is charmingly low-key.

While in other hands this could inspire murmurs of appreciation rather than a vehement response, Byles manages to build something quietly epic out of it all. His wispy vocals bare an immutable grace and force, underpinned by poignantly self-assured, introspective lyrics that avoid cliché. It’s this raw (and quite frankly, rare) authenticity that gives the track its potent pulse.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of sensitive singer-songwriters (particularly the dreamy-boy-with-acoustic-guitar type) about. And while Thom Byles‘ reserve might see him get lost in the mix, it could well be the very thing that makes him stand out.

Words by Chris Haywood

Tipped by Mattia from Going Solo

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