There is a complicated dynamic going on in Zoe Konez’s single, ‘Love Is The Sweetest Thing.’ Whilst the premise of the tune is undeniably cliché, the outstanding musical technique and traversing influences elevate its complexity, making it disarmingly indescribable.
Producing ineffable, soulful music isn’t all Zoe Konez has to her name, however. The songwriter from Cat Bear Trees has travelled the globe, exploring different musical expressions and learning the musicianship of various cultures, which manifests itself in her impressive technique – especially in her advanced guitar playing – even if it isn’t omnipresent in her sound.
It’s interesting that, with such a cultured musical understanding, Konez has opted for such a simplistic, westernised track. ‘Sweetest Thing’ is a piano-led song, drawing on traditional musical roots. The 120-year-old Bechstein piano used to record in the Sussex countryside feels like a far cry from the tribal drums you’d expect from such a cultured artist. But perhaps that’s a stereotype, and we should appreciate Konez’s easy, almost classical sounding music for what it is. The piano motif is a bit boring at the outset, but gains affect when field music influences come into play, transforming the single into a left field love song.
‘Sweetest Thing’ does border on encapsulating a range of techniques and influences. The track gains pace with an added drum dynamic, before slowing down again with a snare beat and forefront vocals. Combined with the piano, “Sweetest Thing” takes on an old soul texture; until the bridge of lap-steel sounding guitar and simmering falsetto lets it pivot between traditional and contemporary indie folk. Thoughts of stone walled towns and country sidewalks come to mind – it would be the perfect backing track to any British Romance film, that’s for sure.
Konez is part of numerous band projects, with ‘Sweetest Thing’ being the second creation in her solo seat. It’s also the fourth track she’s self-produced, a talent that is evident through the musical technique that is beyond its time – it’s complex but accessible. In a musical landscape where production gets tainted by tangled scores and political lyrics, the compound attitude of this track is pulled off succinctly.
Konez is also instrumental in supporting musicians at a grassroots level with her project ‘Stop, Look & Listen’ – a platform for emerging British artists to showcase their talent. An understanding of topics beyond love, lust, and loss, is intriguingly present in this track, even if it is not prominent. There is an oddly foreboding quality to Konez’s work – something in the raw vocal work and simplicity of score makes you feel like she’s saying something more than what is put forth.
An instrumental player in the grassroots industry, an extraordinary producer and guitarist, as well being able to write an accessible song after the range of influences she’s been exposed to, are all things that cannot be ignored with this young artist. That being said, this single does not do her justice.