Twenty-three-year-old songwriter/film composer/guitarist Sulene, hailing from South Africa (currently living in New York), recently released her debut album Holding Words Back, a four-song EP influenced by the likes of Paramore, The Dear Hunter, The Wonder Years, Radiohead, and Muse. Alongside bandmates Jon Greene (guitar), Dan Alport (bass), and Emmett Ceglia (drums), the Berklee College of Music trained Sulene van der Walt provides a fantastic and unique rock sound that seems to defy any genre.
To begin the album, the eponymous song “Holding Words Back” is one that stays true to its name. The song, devoid of any words, is a short one minute instrumental track that sets the scene for the rest of the album. With a hint of an ethereal sounds, “Holding Words Back” leads perfectly into the following song by meshing with the somewhat darker tones found in “Purgatory.” From the first song on out, though, each song has a great beat, is incredibly catchy, and will have you rockin’ right in your seat.
I believe the heart and soul of the album to be in the song “Worst Version of Me.” One of the first things I thought of when listening to “Worst Version of Me” is that it sounds a lot like a female-fronted version of Fall Out Boy. Though, of course, Sulene has more understandable lyrics that make sense. The aspect I like most about this song, however, is the message I personally deciphered from it, specifically in the lyric “I’m so done trying to be the worst version of me / if it was right it would have worked out by now.” While the song is more in regards to relationships, this statement can be applied to more than just matters of love, and that’s something powerful. It can remind us that when any situation isn’t working out – whether it be a job or anything similar – that we should not be ashamed to take ourselves out of those situations; that no matter what, life is short, and we deserve to make things better for ourselves, that we have the capabilities to be the best versions of ourselves if we put our minds to it.
According to her exclusive announcement with Under The Gun Review when the album debuted on March 25, Holding Words Back was spurred by the breakup with a bad boyfriend, and that the album is “about speaking up for yourself, being true to who you are, and never settling for less than what you’re worth.” In my opinion, Sulene has hit the nail right on the head when it comes to the important things in life and has set it beautifully to music. I’m always a fan of anyone that has that capability.
You can purchase a digital CD (download) of the album here on iTunes. The album can also be heard on Spotify.
For more updates from Sulene, visit the band’s Facebook page, here.
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