With so many new tracks flying out each week it can be hard to find the reflective time that some truly deserve. One worth more than a few casual plays is the beautiful, thoughtful and sensitive EP Warmth from Shropshire based JP Riley.
As regular readers (hahaha I flatter myself a touch again, but I know of a couple at least – thanks mum), will know I only write about tracks that strike a chord with me in some way, but even I have favourite sons and daughters within that select roster. JP Riley is an artist that has warmed on me; that growth is perhaps a reflection upon the fine detail within his songs. I’ve come to realise there are chocolate chips running through the biscuit, rather than sitting shallow and deceptively just on the top. Haha, JP Riley is Pret not Greggs; in other words, you will feel fuller for longer.
One track that is destined to be a firm favourite for me over the next few months will be Waterfall, one of the newly released tracks from Warmth. JP’s vocals on this track are stunning, and beautifully complemented by Thea Green. I’m not going to claim vocal technique expert by any chalk, but I was vocally trained for a while back in the day, and I love JP’s open diaphragm and open wide vowels on this track (and indeed on the whole EP). There’s no strain at all in his voice and it just makes the track completely pure. Sliding and straining into notes and losing words are aliens to James and Thea.
Putting my tech head back into the box, the tune itself has that pebble turning babbling brook quality, and to my mind the tune describes how hard it can be for life to be smooth. As the lyrics highlight; ripples can easily turn into tsunamis.
A track that has definitely grown on me is 93. Again, there’s that very careful, beautiful and unique vocal. The slightly uncomfortable edginess to the music and vocal makes me feel alert rather than have the gentle notes just float past, and to my ear in the lyric there’s a hopeful thought for brighter peaceful days to come.
While the songs on Warmth are reflective, and perhaps somewhat mournful, there is still plenty of driving beats in the tune. Slumber is a case in point, there’s a busy counterpoint in the beats, against the stillness of the vocals and lyrics. There’s often a slight obliqueness in JP Riley’s lyrics, but here I pick up an awakening after a period of putting troubling thoughts away. This is a rather disturbing, but a magnificent song. Fans of the likes of Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, James Blake, Alt J and Radiohead should give JP Riley a listen.
There are 6 tracks on the EP, and I’ll pick on Lofi to close my write up, a track I admire, again, for it being just away from the standard. It’s a tune which describes being unsettled and disconcerted, and perhaps feeling on edge with a relationship where you question what was real and what imagined. It’s a rather painfully bare song and beautiful for it.
Warmth EP is a complete success for JP Riley, thoughtful, reflective, of top notch quality, a bit different, and full of thinking about the human condition. I’ve very much warmed to this; take time to unpick all those folds in this collection.
* Images are taken from JP Riley’s social media