SINGLE REVIEW: Duncan Reed – ‘Hypnotise’

‘If you like a great song, well sung and very well played then you’ll love this’ You can see Duncan at the John Reed and Friends gig 25th May, Todmorden Unitarian Church


Built around simple acoustic guitar figures ‘Hypnotise’ is … hard to pigeonhole. Is it a modern folk-based song? Well yes, there’s a folky feel there. Is it a big rock ballad? Well it has that going on as well (to a degree). You can almost imagine it as the first encore for a rock band – you know the sort of thing I mean.

It’s a grower. At first I wasn’t grabbed by this but after a few moments I found myself being drawn in, it’s something that crept up on me. By the time I hit the almost Clannad like layered vocal swell it had got me. The build in this song is going to – if you forgive me – hypnotise you. It just gradually builds up on you, and then you’re in this big rock ballad for a few moments, and the it stars to fade. Lovely.

Duncans’s vocal is understated, he lets the words – which are great by the way – do the talking. The production is fabulous, he’s resisted the temptation to layer on lots of stuff.

If you like a great song, well sung and very well played then you’ll love this.

‘Hypnotise’ is the title track from Duncan’s upcoming album of the same name.

While I was on Bandcamp checking out this track, I couldn’t resist checking out Duncan’s other material. There’s some great stuff there, and I’d recommend you do the same.

The info

Duncan Reed is a singer-songwriter from Manchester.

‘Hypnotise’ the single, ‘The Hardest Path’ EP and the album ‘Until The End’ are available on Bandcamp and, the EP and the album are on Spotify



Hard As Stone –
Youngstown Cover –

Duncan says “I began my musical life at a very young age making what were probably fairly appalling sounds on one of the many guitars within the family home. I was born into a musical family and regularly played guitar throughout my childhood. As most children do, I learnt recorder during primary school and performed with the school orchestra and recorder group, winning awards in regional competitions. Most of my musical theory knowledge dates from this period.

“I formed my first band with school friends aged around 9 and would play “gigs” at birthday parties and practice each week at my friend’s house. Being honest, most of the band members were involved because they owned instruments rather than for their musical prowess but looking back, I am quite proud that we wrote our own songs from such a young age. We even included a few covers by Radiohead and U2 in our set, although these would only be performed by me and the singer (who is still making music today).

“As I grew up during the height of Britpop my original influences from a young age included bands such as Kula Shaker and Radiohead, along with more folkier sounds from bands like The Levellers. Throughout my teenage years, I veered more and more to alternative music and metal with my heaviest influences ranging from Muse and My Vitriol to Iron Maiden, Pantera and Alice In Chains! So it’s hardly surprising that I spent a number of years as a singer for a metal band until my early 20’s.

2It was not until my early 20’s that I began to record properly, and the release of ‘Until The End’ in September 2012 was the start of my solo career. The album itself is almost a summary of my early life in songwriting and spans a variety of stages in my development. It is definitely an interesting piece to listen to, either to enjoy as a piece of work to be proud of or just to look back on with a sense of satisfaction. ‘The Hardest Path’ EP, released in 2014, was based heavily around open guitar tunings and acoustic instruments and has more of an acoustic/folk edge to it. In the final track ‘Coming Back To Life’, dual lead vocals were introduced to my overall sound.

“Since then, I have been working on two separate projects. The follow up to ‘The Hardest Path’ was supposed to be the ‘Coming Home’ EP but sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, the project was placed on hold. The main body of the songs were all performed live and the EP really builds on the idea of dual lead vocals and sweeping harmonies

“My latest project has been the production of ‘Hypnotise’ which nicely summarises my musical influences. It introduces elements of a full band production while at times still maintaining a folky acoustic edge.”

The gig

John Reed & Friends: An evening of original folk music combining folk, a bit of rock, and some sounds from across the pond from Nova Scotia.
25th May 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Todmorden Unitarian Church

John will kicking off this gig with long time friend and guitarist Kieran Heaney, delivering around 40 minutes of cittern based original folk songs from his Moorscape album and and Dry The Life EP, with a smattering of progressive folk for good measure.

John’s gig will be followed by his son Duncan who has actually been on the gig circuit for longer than himself. Duncan’s voice is amazing and the quality of his songs shines through on his soon to be released album Hypnotise.

To round off the evening friends The Lewinskies (husband and wife team Kristen Hatt-Lewis and Matthew Lewis) from Nova Scotia, whose North-East American folk vibe combines thoughtful and direct lyrics with Kristen’s accordion playing.

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.