❉ David McAlmont and HiFi Sean have created a masterclass album of flawless musicianship and production.
“Recorded at the top of an East London tower block, mixed in a beach hut on Camber Sands and gilded with Bollywood strings in Bangalore, the album successfully tackles a range of musical styles including dub, funk, soul, its soulful lyrics laced with a personal reaction to the incredible times we’re all living through, making it entirely current and wholly relatable.”
The supreme musical talents of singer/songwriter David McAlmont and DJ/musician/producer Sean Dickson aka HiFi Sean have come together to create a masterclass album of flawless musicianship and production. The duo have previously worked together under the name McHifi, but this is their first jointly produced album.
Released at the start of February 2023 Happy Endings has since then achieved impressive stats; #1 Indie Album Breakers Chart, #3 Scottish Album Chart, #4 UK Indie Chart, and #5 UK Vinyl Chart. Recorded at the top of an East London tower block, mixed in a beach hut on Camber Sands and gilded with Bollywood strings in Bangalore, the album successfully tackles a range of musical styles including dub, funk, soul, topped off with McAlmont’s indescribably perfect vocals; its soulful lyrics laced with a personal reaction to the incredible times we’re all living through, making it entirely current and wholly relatable.
The opening title track gently begins with distant dialogue, as it segues with into McAlmont’s unmistakable vocals caressing your ears. It’s a soulful melange of sweeping orchestration, beats, guitars and vocals in perfect synchronicity, spoiling the listener in the best possible way. With the bar already set high, next track The Fever doesn’t disappoint, picking up the tempo making it a danceable song, packed with soul.
We move onto Beautiful, the lead single from the album. It has the grandiose lyrical hook ‘we’re higher than the mountains and deeper than the sea’ sung over disjointed strings. This is a big song, with backing vocals in sync with McAlmont’s beautiful voice, and it was recorded in a Bangalore film studio with an eighty-piece Bollywood orchestra, producing something quite astonishingly, well, beautiful.
In contrast, Hurricanes opens to a drum beat with the pair sharing the vocals, giving it a different feel to the previous tracks. All In The World, another single release, promotes the message ‘we’re all in this life together so we might as well make the best of it’. It’s a catchy track with deep bass backing and multi-layered harmonies coming together in a faultless production, and for that reason it’s my favourite track on the album.
Diamond Dust is sung to a reggae dub beat in a patois style reflecting David’s Guayanian roots. The Skin I’m In is a song with an important message about seeing other people beyond the colour of their skin, citing recent shocking events which underlie the critical message.
Maybe switches its vibe again into a song which tells the story that anyone in the world can fall in love. The animation in the specially-made video was hand drawn in Indonesian artist, Galih Panji.
Furnished with strings provided by Bengaluru arranger Dr Chandru Jois, Transatlantic is a synth-driven, almost sci-fi, affair, evoking the sensation of feeling detached from the world, floating aimlessly above it in the sea of the galaxy, looking down at the Earth and understanding our fragility in the wide universe.
Real Thoughts In Real Time brings us back to earth with its synth digeridoo sounds emulating an Antipodean feel, only to burst into life like a flower suddenly emerging into full bloom, with McAlmont’s falsetto piercing though the epic orchestration.
Penultimate track Otherwise feels as though it could have been sung by George Michael as it shares the same smooth pop-funk vibes of the late singer’s best solo work. It has a piano accompaniment by Janette Mason, whom David has worked with on his recent live shows.
The album’s very own happy ending comes in the form of Aurora (Part 1 And 2). With its relaxed, sixties vibe pleasingly reminiscent of Bacharach and David, it’s a track to lie on your back, gaze at the sky and watch ever-changing clouds to on a summer’s day, as it moves from ethereal to trippy with its repetitive echoes before the dreamy vocals kick in, until it melts away into the ether.
In summary, the album is a breath-taking collection, and it is an essential listen for anyone with a discerning musical soul. Buy it now and thank me later.
❉ Hifi Sean/David McAlmont: ‘Happy Ending’ (Plastique Recordings FAKE129CD) was released 3 February 2023 and is available on CD, LP and Digital download: https://lnk.to/hppyending
❉ A lifelong lover of music and prominent contributor to Me and the Starman (now available by Cult Ink on Amazon), Ange Chan is a Freelance Writer, having produced two novels and six volumes of poetry.
All photo credits: © Arber. All rights reserved.