"Burn" by Euan BlackmanReview
Out on 21st July is the latest Euan Blackman single & this one is called "Burn", which was created entirely by Euan & his home studio & was mastered by Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, New Order, The Charlatans etc) at Eve Studios.
Another side to Euan comes out in this one (which also functions as the lead single from his upcoming second EP) as he offers a different aspect of his personality to that on show on his previous ‘You Are The Rain' EP. With tracks like "Bad Things", "Busy Doing Nothing", and "Everybody Lets You Down", you can see why the label "introspective" isn't going to get argued with much. It's possible "pessimist" and "gloomy" have been applied I'd imagine.
This time, we have a corrective: Euan reveals his pop side. Citing (1980s) Springsteen & The 1975 in particular, he says that it's him "..embracing my love for this music and all things melodic. It's definitely my most upbeat and summery offering..". Well you won't find me contradicting him on that front.
Not that he's executed a complete change of style as such: the sound is very consistent with all that's gone before (he seems to have patented his own vocal style) and he further qualifies his earlier statement by asserting that it "..yet still hints on my love for folk and introspection.".
The effect is quite odd. After a number of plays, I wondered if he'd been listening to Peter Gabriel much recently. It's a vaguely similar delivery and sounds like a man trying to articulate his enjoyment of summer while giving the impression that his personal activities during this season were a bit more restrained than say the Beach Boys' hobbies of driving cars fast between bouts of surfing & pursuing young women. Euan sounds like were he on the beach, he'd be under an umbrella with a good book. Judging by the melody, he'd have headed east too.
Hypnotic rather than frenetic, as I say it has interesting oriental instrumental sounds as well as tune (not a million miles from Lemon Boy in fact), it soothes the soul musically, moving with the pace of someone struggling with the heat, yet actually there's a sad little story at the heart of it: a sort of version of that in The Beatles' "No Reply" or The Rays' "Silhouettes". You get the impression that not even the sunny weather makes his life a great deal happier. The song is called "Burn" and he refers to a feeling akin to having a stone in his shoe.
Perhaps what he really is doing is taking up the mantle of Leonard Cohen? At any rate he's rather good at what he does to say the least & I'm interested to learn what the rest of the EP sounds like: is this the poppiest he's prepared to go or is Euan simply beginning a process of leading his audience from his previous style to a new one: perhaps this will be a carefully graduated transition of which "Burn" is the first small step to prevent too great a trauma?