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Live Gig Video: Sivu performs ‘Better Man Than He’ in Cap Blanc Nez for La Blogotheque

By on Friday, 10th October 2014 at 4:00 pm

French Web site La Blogotheque does atmospheric on location filming very, very well. Take for example their most recently revealed video featuring Sivu, who will be releasing his debut album ‘Something on High’ on Monday on Atlantic Records. The album’s stunning, I can assure you; I reviewed it earlier this week.

This live video takes us to Cap Blanc Nez, a cape in Northern France with stunning cliffs ala the White Cliffs of Dover, and Sivu’s accompanied by a brass band. While Sivu will be playing London Oslo Hackney next Tuesday, the 14th of October, as well as continuing as the primary support for Nick Mulvey on his UK tour which lands tonight in Falmouth, you’re unlikely to see a performance of ‘Better Man Than He’ like this at those shows. Watch the video with a gorgeous French sunset in the background below.



Album Review: Sivu – Something on High

By on Tuesday, 7th October 2014 at 12:00 pm

From his very first single ‘Better Man Than He’ with a promo video filmed from inside an MRI machine, it was clear that Sivu would be an artist with a difference. Early on in his career, Page’s sound under his moniker Sivu was described by many as ‘eclectic’, and while using this adjective to describe his music is good, I don’t think the one word does his style justice. What makes ‘Something on High’, Sivu’s debut album for Atlantic Records, particularly of interest is that no two songs on this 11-track album sound alike, yet with successive tune, you’re drawn further into his world of fragility and poignancy.

Known to his mum as James Page, like many young people wanting a change of scenery, the singer/songwriter left Cambridgeshire for the bright lights of London. As might be expected for sensitive souls such as his, the transition took an emotional toll on him, causing him to reflect on the meaning of life and an individual’s place in this world. It’s one of the reasons not to be surprised that a major theme of the LP is the finding of and acceptance of the fragile, tender beauty of life in desperate, lonely situations. If that sounds pretty despondent, it is. But it is meant to be, reminding you of the painful cries of Daughter’s Elena Tonra on ‘Landfill’ and ‘Smother’, leaving you wondering why Communion didn’t snap up Page for their illustrious roster. (He also happens to be touring as the main support for another Communion artist, the Mercury Prize-nominated Nick Mulvey, starting on Friday.) Was he just too out there, too weird? But that’s a conversation for another time…

The album is peppered liberally with Sivu’s past successful singles and EP contents, which makes the whole affair a treasure trove for new fans to discover anew while providing a handy. Remarkably upbeat past single ‘Can’t Stop Now’ comes in at the fifth position on this album and provides a good dose of levity. ‘Better Man Than He’, with its oddly comforting repeated “lo lo los”, was written by Page about a friend’s troubles, but it has a wonderful everyman feeling, “we’ll find faith in the most magical of places / and find home in the smallest of rooms / we’ll find life in the most barren of faces / we’ll touch Christ in impending doom”.


It is probably now time to note that while I don’t think he planned on it specifically, religion is another natural theme on this album, as existentialism and mortality are explored in this past summer’s brilliant single ‘Miracle (Human Error)’ I reviewed back in June. The allegory of Noah’s Ark specifically is used as a plot device in previous EP title track ‘Bodies’, with the mesmerising rhythm and Page’s sweeping melodic vocal sonically conjuring up the image of looming, destructive floodwaters as a metaphor for wiping the slate clean and starting over in life.

And there are even more brilliant gems beyond these, all eliciting the purest of emotions. ‘Sleep’ is the self-deprecating, 2014 sister to the Smiths’ ‘Sing Me to Sleep’, with the tear-jerky lyrics “I’m a cruel, cold-hearted waste of space / now let me sleep so I can slip away” quite possibly going beyond in the waterworks stakes than Morrissey’s own. Album opener ‘Feel Something’ seems to speak to society’s tendency for indifference, or at least indifference on the surface with hiding all true feelings inside. (Sounds a bit like typical English stiff upper lip, eh?) When Page croons, “’cause I don’t really care if you break me / I’m reading signals in the dark that’s gonna find and take me down to our death”, you’d have to be a stone not to feel an ache deep within your heart. Loneliness and the desire to reach out and touch base with someone far away, either physically or emotionally, is examined wonderfully in ‘Communicate’, as the soft strings and other instrumentation beautifully frame Page’s falsetto.

Page has said the title of this album, ‘Something on High’, was inspired by the Vincent Van Gogh painting ‘Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate)’; the Dutch artist completed the work 2 months before committing suicide. He has said he chose the album title not for its religious overtones but to reflect the personal self-doubt and uncertainty he felt while he was writing the songs in unfamiliar surroundings. However, taking into account the final product that will be out in the shops next week, Page should be proud of his art and confident that the truest sentiments he has put into his music will find many new fans able to relate to and eagerly embrace those feelings.


‘Something on High’, the debut album from Sivu, is out next Monday, the 13th of October, on Atlantic Records. Page himself offers up a track by track analysis of the album below. He will be playing a headline show at London Oslo Hackney next Tuesday, the 14th of October; he also begins an opening slot as primary support for Nick Mulvey on his UK tour starting Friday in Falmouth.



Paul Thomas Saunders / Sivu – August 2014 Scottish Tour

By on Monday, 14th July 2014 at 9:00 am

Sometimes living in Scotland pays off big time. This is true of an upcoming Highlands tour next month coheadlined by singer/songwriters Paul Thomas Saunders and Sivu (pictured at top), which will begin Inverness on the 13th of August. Tickets are on sale now.

Watch Saunders’ promo video for ‘Appointment in Samarra’ after the tour dates; it appears on his debut album ‘Beautiful Desolation’ released earlier this year on Atlantic Records. To watch the video for Sivu’s next single ‘Miracle (Human Error)’ and read my review of it, go here; he’ll be touring the UK himself in October.

Wednesday 13th August 2014 – Inverness Ironworks
Thursday 14th August 2014 – Ullapool Ceilidh Place
Friday 15th August 2014 – Stornoway Isle Of Lewis Woodlands Centre
Saturday 16th August 2014 – Aviemore Old Bridge Inn


Live Gig Video: Sivu performs ‘Miracle (Human Error)’ at the Distillery Studios

By on Wednesday, 9th July 2014 at 4:00 pm

Sivu and his band recently stopped by the Distillery Studios to record some great stuff, namely a live version of his upcoming single ‘Miracle (Human Error)’. It’s really lovely, with split screens so you can watch all the action, and the sound is incredible. (Read my review of the single here.)

‘Miracle (Human Error)’ will be released on the 28th of July on Atlantic. The London singer/songwriter will be on tour in October; all the details of that tour are here. For more TGTF writings Sivu-related, head this way.



Sivu / October 2014 UK Tour

By on Thursday, 3rd July 2014 at 9:00 am

The superb Sivu has announced a short tour of the UK for mid-October. Tickets are on sale now.

His next single ‘Miracle (Human Error)’ will be released on the 28th of July on Atlantic. For all things Sivu on TGTF, go here.

Tuesday 14th October 2014 – London Oslo
Wednesday 15th October 2014 – Brighton Hope
Thursday 16th October 2014 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Friday 17th October 2014 – Glasgow Glad Cafe


Single Review: Sivu – Miracle (Human Error)

By on Thursday, 19th June 2014 at 12:00 pm

Sivu’s next single, ‘Miracle (Human Error)’, got its premiere radio play Tuesday night on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 evening programme. The promo video for the song continues his excellent track record of pairing his thought-provoking lyrics with a compelling story told unconventionally in front of our very eyes. From the very start of the video directed by Georgia Hudson, as we’re confronted with the words, “Are you afraid of death? Because I am too.”, you can’t help but be mesmerised. The single also represents a less alternative, more conventional singer/songwriter style of writing for Sivu, which I think I could pay off for him in garnering a whole new group of fans.

The song itself is made up of pretty dark subject matter. Is it about existentialism? I sense this is the case, at least partially. The expansive chorus of “Because it’s time to collide / This human error’s what were made for / But now were dead inside / We’re ones and zeros of a half lived life” shows Sivu seeming to equate human beings to machines made up of binary code, of discrete yeses and nos, “dead inside” as if our lives have already been chosen for us, “half lived” because we don’t have control over it. Part of this too my guess is pointing towards society’s reliance on technology and how social media and the internet have made us desensitised, emotionless.


But this isn’t the whole story. If you close your eyes and listen to what else and how he’s singing, the vocal delivery is not sad. It’s uplifting, in a sweeping way, and it feels to me like a love song that he’s cleverly hidden amongst truly philosophical issues. If you return to the start of the song and verse 1, he sings of what wonderful things human beings are, with the potential to go on and do great things: “Are we a miracle / Tell me glory / As we’re bound and born / To rule beautiful places”. Yet in the video, we’re presented with images of lonely people in late night situations: drinking alone, lying in bed alone, looking at themselves in a mirror alone. Not so wonderful, eh?

Then Sivu goes on, “We carved a future for ourselves / In our lowest of lonelys”: he is pointing to people who were cognisant of putting themselves in these situations. Further, the lyrics “But still we break like a toy /Without a parachute on / I’m a cog with a glitch so worn / No man can fix / No man can fix” illustrate human frailty beautifully. In contrast to the chorus, he’s acknowledging we aren’t made of steel, we aren’t machines. And that is an inherent quality of being human, just as is “to err is human”, which is what I’m imagining he was getting at with the “(Human Error)” part of the song title: we are human and have the ability to make choices. Some lead to better things and some hurt us, but us having the choice is critical.

Going back to what is at the song’s heart, a love story, the repeated request of “I need a miracle, a miracle” and the most dramatic of all these lyrics, “Are you afraid of death / ‘cause I am too / ‘cause they’ll be no more me / And they’ll be no more you”, are nothing short of enchantingly haunting. Morrissey was right: another important quality of being human is the need to be loved. The beauty of ‘Miracle (Human Error)’ is in recognising we all need to feel love, along with the fact that no one of us is perfect. Yet as humans, we have the power to change, but it has to come from within. Loneliness is not a terminal condition, as long as you’re willing to open your heart, to chance it.


‘Miracle (Human Error)’, Sivu’s forthcoming single, is out on the 28th of July on Atlantic. Sivu has confirmed appearances scheduled at Tramlines, Beacons Festival, Reading and Leeds and Bestival, amongst others. For a full listing of his summer appearances, visit his official Web site. My previous coverage of Sivu is right this way.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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