The Australian songwriter deals with emotional polarities on his 3rd album, ‘Stars Aligning’.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Following up on the success of 2018’s ‘A World Away From You’, the South Australian singer-songwriter returns with his 3rd and most spirited album to date. Through employing his distinct and intuitive approach to songwriting, Davis channels his emotions through each and every note, with his powerful chord progressions emanating a wealth of passion and sentiment. A heartfelt project whose emotive composition explores both the highs and lows of life, ‘Stars Aligning’ strikes a fine balance between revelling in nostalgia, and longing for better days ahead.

Recorded alongside a backing band consisting of Glen Gearing (bass, vocal harmonies), Joshua Harris (lead guitar), and Toby Johnson (drums), the quartet combine each of their creative talents to construct an expressive light-rock sound reminiscent of bands such as U2 and ‘Parachutes’ era Coldplay. With these inspirations present right from the vibrant pop-rock ballad, ‘Colours’, Davis introduces the vivid and illustrative songwriting which gives ‘Stars Aligning’ its absorbing edge. Amidst the buoyant grooves and soothing vocal tones, the Australian singer can be heard yearning for “a new adventure and better days”. Seemingly inspired by ‘The Girl Who Travelled The World’, the singer’s profound dedication to a jovial and cultivated woman elicits one of the album’s most alluring melodies. Infatuated with her exotic lifestyle which appears to emanate nothing but happiness, the Australian is encouraged to embrace the power of love on the following ‘Open My Heart’. A vibrant track which radiates the warmth of a Summer’s evening, Davis becomes one with the inspired percussion and invigorating bass, finding comfort and hope through the lyrics; “I know this time I’ll let you inside, I’ll let you give me a better life”.

Stream ‘Stars Aligning’ by Ethan Davis on Spotify.

Finding solace in the fact that life is a beautiful miracle whose endless possibilities are there to be explored, the singer’s burning desire to achieve happiness is responsible for inducing some of the album’s more uplifting songs. This enthusiasm precipitates tracks such as the cinematic ‘Your Best Days’, where the rich instrumentation and rousing percussion resemble the courage of someone who’s battled against the odds to finally be rewarded with some long-awaited “better days”. Equally as compelling, the penultimate track, ‘Your Life Is Worth Living’, grows to treasure the precious nature of time, “but only for a different you”. With its crushing harmonies and explosive guitar solo, the track’s empowering qualities serve as a desperate final calling for change.

But while tracks such as ‘Moonlight’ capture the euphoria of intimate relationships, ‘Stars Aligning’ isn’t entirely consumed by promise and comfort. This state of contentment is challenged most prominently on the heartrending ‘Blank Space’, a poignant acoustic track which explores the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. Unable to find answers at the bottom of his glass, Davis struggles to retrieve precious memories lost to alcohol, which results in him pleading through the refrain; “Help me to remember”. Equally, while ‘Lessons I Have Learned’ generally adopts a “what’s done is done” policy, there exists an element of self-doubt which appears through the insecure lyric, “some days I feel I am nobody’s concern”. This despondency resurfaces during the bittersweet closing, ‘Down In Flames’, a melancholic acoustic track whose intimate vocals are the absolute epitome of “spine-tingling”.

An unceasing conflict between sorrow and optimism, ‘Stars Aligning’ is a hauntingly beautiful album, whose evocative songwriting explores the duality of the human heart. Passionate, direct, and frequently stripped down, the Australian’s third album embraces the individual qualities of his backing band, which combined with his raw vocal performances culminates in a breathtakingly sentimental body of work.

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