michael – somerset – ward

Album Review: Mzylkypop’s ‘When Will The Wolves Howl’ – a frightening dystopia

They certainly don’t make ’em like this anymore. Mzylkypop is the latest project from Sheffield musician Michael Somerset Ward, and somehow manages to be both complex and immediately appealing.

Michael has been making music since his days playing sax in Clock DVA, and then Floy Joy, where he worked and recorded in Detroit with Don and David Was. Since then he’s been involved in a dizzying array of projects and collaborations, most of which have their roots in Sheffield.

The music on When Will The Wolves Howl combines elements and influences which reflect the musical journey he has been on ever since those early days. There are snatches of classic pop, soul crooning, psychedelic fuzzy rock, free jazz – in fact, just about anything you care to look for is here.

But don’t be tempted to think it’s unfocused and confusing; far from it. This is a considered and carefully crafted series of sounds and feelings, telling a story set in 2030, where a far-right government is bent on deportation and imprisonment. To give it extra impact, it’s all told from the point of view of a Polish immigrant.

Does it work? It certainly does, and then some. The music is faultless, but the biggest revelation is the vocalist and narrator Sylwia Drwal, who just has the most astonishing voice. You might have caught her recently down at the Picture House Social, fronting Mother of Crows, a project specifically created by Michael to showcase her voice. Never anything less than compelling, she is the perfect vehicle for delivering this frightening dystopian view of a possible future. It’s a timeless warning we need to heed, and never more so than now.

9/10

Image: Mal Wichelow




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