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Various Artists – Cure U Roadtrip – Review

CURE International is a large-scale health provider, specialising in reconstructive surgery for disabled children. Cure U is its university program, focusing on connecting students with its activities and message. This Spring, Cure U have been on tour at over 20 colleges, promoting the CURE U Roadtrip, a compilation featuring tracks from all the artists on the tour, including The Vespers, Judah & the Lion, SHEL and more. The mixtape has been made available on Noisetrade, a platform where listeners can download the album for free, or tip the artists in payment for the record.

The collection has been selected to fit both the project and its purpose, with great music delivered with love. The music really does seem to fit in with the goals of an enterprise, and with the driving beat and rhythmic drums of The Vespers’ Close My Eyes kicking the trip off, you know you are in for a treat.

Shel approach their hip hop-flavoured indie roots with stripped-backed harmonies on their exquisite Runnin’. A devilishly simple song, Runnin’ initially employs just a beat and voices, with a synth line and piano coming in later. Sam Birchfield’s Here Tonight shows off his world-weary voice, as his spins an enjoyable tale which both lifts and rouses the listener with its melody and arrangement. This feeling is echoed on the lively, happy Back’s Against The Wall from Judah & The Lion – who can fail to love banjo, guitar and ukulele in the same song?

A slightly different feel is found on the optimistic, bombastic Silver, by the Gray Havens. Their piano-led pop-rock sounds almost like British pop behemoths Take That, and they deliver a song which will lift you up no matter how you are feeling. The Cure U Roadtrip may be a short (mini) album, but there is a lot going on within its borders.

The collection goes back to the more acoustic side of things on the crafted and crafty Your Children’s Children, with its male/female harmonies, head-nodding feel established by a harmonica, and a driving, upbeat, feel good vibe provided by Carolina Story. Lainey Wright’s soaring, invigorating voice provides a real highlight, evoking feelings of music’s power to bridge gaps, cross continents and also to provide knowledge, but also doubt, allowing you to be yourself and also be scared. Lainey brings all these things together on this beautiful song.

The off-kilter, quirky freeness of Votary’s Teresa sums up the album, whilst the uppy, poppy effort of Talain Rayne’s Dear Sister Your Brother features the Katy Perry-esque Meg Lynch on a duet which manages to sum up the ‘roadtrip’ concept – it really is easy to imagine driving along to this collection of songs.

The collection is available from Noisetrade, so go along and show your support.

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