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Neo & Neo - Stone in my Heart (self-released)

14 November 2023

One of the first things that I notice about Neo & Neo in this deft and delicate song is how he seems to build a bridge between the unadorned nature of the singer-songwriter and the often overdone sounds of the band. We are so used to solo performers, usually, skinny-jeaned youths in wide-brimmed hats and hippy dresses, offering stark, acoustic strums that lack tone or texture. Or going too far the other way and piling on layers of sound and sonics, burying the thing that they had worked so hard on in the first place. Neither is ever particularly satisfying.

Neo & Neo, actually a well-traveled troubadour named Dominik Robin, walks the perfect line between these two approaches, and Stone in My Heart is a fantastic demonstration of his sure-footedness when it comes to composition.

He puts a simple beat and meandering bassline below his song, gently expands the sonic scope with some understated and spacious piano, and uses that as a simple, wonderfully effective platform for his delivery. He adds a few tasteful touches, especially a second, female vocalist contrasting his rougher, world-worn voice, a voice brilliantly smoothing edges and adding additional warmth and wonder.

By doing so, the song walks the perfect line between less and more; it is open enough that you can appreciate each and every word and note that makes up this fine song, ornate sufficient that he is elevated out of the realm of solo busker…although he was always better than that.

Understated, elegant, simple, gorgeous.