Feature by Sarah Spohn
For fans of the Manchester indie folk singer-songwriter, the last few years were quiet in terms of new music. On Friday, July 7, all that changed. Sukh released his first single since 2015, “Flight.” Even better yet, it is the first track from the to-be-released album, “Galactic Love Machine.”
Teaming up with John Simm (Cleft) and the Manchester String Quartet, Sukh continues to deliver both melodic and catchy hooks, while keeping music at the heart of its purpose: truth and evoking feelings. Lyrics are important, and that dedication to the craft is evident in his songwriting, especially evident in “Flight.”
The single is extremely refreshing in a current state where many songs do not make it to the radio without eccentric, overplayed EDM elements, derogatory phrases or auto tune. “Flight” takes a strong stand in the fight for real music – stripping it back to a melodic, beautiful sound with honest lyrics and a simplicity that has gone unseen and unheard for quite some time now. However, if that description sounds lack-luster, just wait until the strings come in for a crescendo in the second half of the song, encouraging listeners: “Don’t you give it up.”
Remember the last time a song was so beautifully composed that you sat there and could not imagine someone’s brain being able to work in all of those capacities? Sukh and his team have created and relayed a story through lyrics, knowing when to layer guitars, and then added an entire symphony to top it off. It is impressive to say the least, and perhaps even more so, it came from the mind of a doctor.
Sukh is a doctor-by-day, musician-by-night, and has frequently thought upon music as a narrative and archival tool.
“Songs become snapshots and photographs,” he said in his blog. “Albums become journals. Sometimes you may look back afterwards and think, ‘what was I thinking?’ and other times you may look back and pat yourself on the back. I don’t know what I’ll think in a few years’ time of the songs I’m releasing now. But I know, right now, they are the songs I want to share with the world. Perhaps one day in many years from now, I will play one of the songs and feel I’ve become a time traveler. But that’s then and this is now.”
Sukh’s style of music and previous tracks like “Kings” and “Chairs” are somewhat of a throwback in time to iconic 70s singer-songwriters like Cat Stevens, Neil Young and even the modern Sufjan Stevens. Sukh is able to be reminiscent of those gritty artists, in a way that feels far more current and relevant – without a dusty harmonica and raspy vocals. With “Flight,” he’s found a way to make sure his product is pure and contemporary, so it doesn’t get shelved with ancient artifacts. Sukh’s newest single sounds more current than ever, in the indie soft rock/pop world.
“Flight” is certainly poised to rise up and take off, and in this wild world, it’s an uplifting, beautifully directed, refreshingly poised piece. You might say it’s just what the doctor ordered.