Little Pebble
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Little Pebble

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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"Album Review - Little Pebble (Self-titled)"

Little Pebble is a self-titled album from Edinburgh singer songwriter Alan Oates that aptly declares its intentions in the first song " April Nectarine," where a lyric says, " not to be different, just to be good." It's an ethos he sticks to throughout the album. On listening it's obvious he's not trying to be different and his influences are easy to hear. They range from Donovan and Bob Dylanesque vocals, guitar and harmonica framework to the more ambient electronica of Four Tet, with tinges of Bowie thrown in for good measure. Saying this though none of these influences are ever glaringly obvious and this is symptomatic of the way he has melded his influences together and come up with his own way of doing things. And it's good.
The songs are led by acoustic guitar and vocals but the addition of drums, bass, harmonica, piano, banjo, female backing vocals and a mellotron sounding keyboard all add a subtle texture that give the songs greater depth and complexity. It also serves to bring Little Pebble neatly out of any obvious categorisation that vocals and acoustic guitar alone would immediately put on him. All the songs seem to come and go before you really get a chance to get into them, which is partly due to the way many of them build up slowly, reach a peak then break down to just vocal and guitar. This technique is used throughout the album but it isn't overdone and is not obvious due to the subtle production and additions of the backing musicians. It also means the songs can be listened to over and over again, with each subsequent listen bringing something new to light.
The lyrics seem to be about everyday issues and don't often enter into bigger arenas, which belies the unpretentious attitude and feel behind the songwriting. The main themes seem to surround people and relationships, acceptance and finding a place for yourself but not in a defeatist way. At times the lyrics do sound almost naive, specifically the song Good Things where he sings " you know there's only good things in a smile " a nice thought, however not always true. Although the innocence of the song and the way it's sung almost has you believing it. The lyrics are all very honest and straight out of the writer's head, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. This can sometimes be overbearing but the songs lend themselves to the confessional style of his lyrics and in this setting they work.
The album Little Pebble as a whole is subtle, well thought out and well produced. The main strengths lie in the songwriting, they are good solid songs, the writer knows what they are and he never tries to make them into something they're not. They are earthy and folky but the production and arrangments give them an ethereal swirl that helps keep a consistent pace and moves the songs along without them all sounding the same. The track order is good and there is enough of a variation between quiet, louder, faster and slower songs to keep your interest throughout. Little Pebble may not be an album that reaches for great heights but it doesn't try to and it's happy that way. - James McNeil


"Baby Tiger Open Mic Night, The Northern Bar, Edinburgh Thu 24 Mar 2005"

There are two types of open mike nights - those in which the audience sit in reverential and silent appreciation, and the ones when rock bands on their night off decamp to a bar and offer slightly drunken meanderings to good-natured heckles from whatever friends they have in tow. Neil and Fraser from local indiepoppers Calvin are our hosts, warming up the audience, and if this was a competition the following acts would be on a bit of a hiding to nothing following a towering version of 'Hathcheck Girl'. ORIGINAL MATERIAL IS ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED AND INDEED ONE CHAP PERFORMS A DECENT TRAILER FOR A SELF-RELEASED CD UNDER THE NAME LITTLE PEBBLE.
However, as Easter holiday atmosphere wears on, things become more relaxed, a Coldplay cover prompting a lofted lighter. Some sublime moothie from local act fourteenhours and a ridiculous version of 'King of the Swingers' just about sums the night up. (Stuart McHugh) - The List Magazine Issue 520


Discography

29th January 2005: 'Little Pebble' LP independently released.

13th August 2005: 'Blueberry Gumdrops' 8 track mini-album with DVD of 'Lift My Sleeve'.

Photos

Bio

The songwriting began in May of 2004. In August the album was planned, in September the drums were arranged on a road between two small towns of the suburbs in the back of an imported Japanese van that can seat 8. In October the system that would run the production and recording software was built. In November the use of a cottage was gifted, the location was peaceful and remote. In December the artwork for the album cover was designed, drawn and printed...this is an account of the activities of a songwriter, who did all of the above, with a little help from his friends. Influenced by the musical bug that lives within. Hope you enjoy listening to what I've had fun producing!

A second release in 2005 of Blueberry Gumdrops, recorded this time in Leith is full of quirky lyrical themes - lots of talk about bums and thighs!

The third set of recordings will be released by Fence Records (fencerecords.com) as a Picket Fence title in April 2006 - it is to be called 'Once Upon a Time...'

Little Pebble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland - now residing by the shore but near a field.

Sonicbids Record
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$ Spotlighted on Sonicbids 15th-19th August 2005.
$ Lift My Sleeve DVD selected to appear on National Independent Music Video Show http://www.indymusic.tv/
$ 2nd stage placement in ISC 2006 (Lift My Sleeve)
$ Semi-finalist in UK Songwriting Contest 2005 for the track 'Lift My Sleeve'.
$ Standby status for PBS' Roadtrip Nation 2005 - 'Instrumental I'.
$ Standby status for North by Northeast Music Festival 2005.

Well I'm back 8 years on! Recovering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the latest album is inspired by that experience and the hope is i'll raise some awareness through my writing so that more can be done in researching this life changing illness. Please enjoy the latest sounds and looking forward to opportunity knocking ;)

Band Members