'You Are The Rain' EP by Euan BlackmanReview
Like all good part works, Euan Blackman has been allowing you to build your collection of his debut EP ‘You Are The Rain' if not by stealth, then at least in instalments so that you can savour each song to the full & without distraction from its siblings before exposing your ears & psyche to the complete artefact.
Thus component tracks "Bad Things", "Busy Doing Nothing", and "Everybody Lets You Down" should already be on your musical radar: they certainly are on ours & you can revisit our reviews on them elsewhere in the magazine.
On the release today of the full EP, therefore, there is only the hitherto unshared & unreviewed song "Cherry Stone" which will be as less familiar to you as it was to us.
With its very Stone Bear themed title, the track also features guest vocalist Ben Stafford on a slightly baroque folk sounding piece which while relatively traditional in melody (arguably the most so on the whole record), is totally contemporary in terms of lyrics. With its talk of hearing "sirens ring outside my door" it's all rather urban in tone (the impact of living currently in Liverpool presumably had its effect here. However the message tends to the optimistic (again perhaps more so than its companions) and seems to be about transcending the harshness of the environment into something more metaphysically uplifting.
Euan emphasises the work which he put into the EP to make it "a cohesive body of work" & taken as a quartet, the elements do work together well: in fact given the relative downbeat quality of the first three singles, "Cherry Stone" does work as both a corrective & complement: possibly too as the culmination of an emotional journey.
It's a quiet, wistful, contemplative EP which emerges, phoenix like, in this last song from its previous melancholia: but which at least allows us to savour the general simplicity of arrangements which favour the voices, words & elegant playing of the often stark instrumentation (in sit well with the determinedly lo-fi & obscurantist artwork throughout). If, as seems likely, it's the record of some emotional process Euan's been through, then it comes across as an effective articulation: sincere & maybe even solemn in that sincerity, but without doubt steeped in authenticity of composition & performance.
Tellingly, he describes creating it as "..the best moment of my music career thus far.." and hopes that the songs will "..find a way into your life..", suggesting that however personal they may have been to him in writing them, he believes that they will find parallels in our own experiences.