Thursday, October 29, 2020

JWestern EP Review

2020 has been JWestern’s year. Releasing his debut single ‘Call You Right Now’ back in August - a song that perfectly captured the introspective funky vibes of this past summer - singer songwriter John Gooding invited us into the world of JWestern. Since then, he has steadily dropped new music, and now finally unveils his first EP to eagerly awaiting ears.

Still a notable high point on the EP, the tracklist kicks off with ‘Call You Right Now’, which balances breezy guitar playing, with a cool, rhythmic vocal delivery. It’s impressive to hear a debut single this focused and confident, and it acts as a perfect all round indicator of what is to come.

Next track, ‘Weight In Gold’, makes use of a similar set of sounds, but adopts more confessional lyrics compared to the cheeky rebellion of the first track. It is more downbeat in comparison, and embraces the melancholic influences of JWestern’s sound a bit more, whilst giving space for his singing to take centre stage.

The back end of the EP offers a bit more of an instrumental shift. ‘Regret It All’ deals in bouncy layered guitar tracks and a strong bassline, with the vocals slowly fading into the background like the end of a summer's night. ‘Check In’ is the breeziest song on the entire project, with JWestern pleading to a lover with a mellow determination and urgency. The guitars and drum beat push the song along at a quick pace, but some inspired production choices mean it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Channeling a sound well travelled by artists such as Yellow Days and Mac Demarco, though somewhat lacking in the formal experimentation of the latter, JWestern has undoubtedly struck upon a vibe with his first foray into music.

Showing an understanding of the technical and stylistic challenges (and freedoms) of crafting music in a bedroom, JWestern has made the most of the means available to him. The result almost certainly fairs better over the duration of an EP rather than an album, but gives a satisfying taste of JWestern’s talent and ambition nonetheless. Sure to be a popular new arrival once touring and festivals recommence, 2021 is looking to be JWestern’s year too.

- Huwen Edwards


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