ep review ~ his new atlas ~ 'blood'

From the opening croon on this delicately mastered EP, Armagh born  'His New Atlas' (the pseudonym of acoustic songwriter Eoghan O'Hagan) displays all the transient beauty of a post-Fightstar Charlie Simpson. Title track 'Blood' is indeed brimming in this ambient mold, as the gravel-tinged vocals flow sweetly over gently strummed acoustic guitar.  The mellow nature of this track gives His New Atlas the space necessary for his intricate sound to develop, as underlying piano guides the harmonious blend of guitar, violin and eventually gentle drums. This fading and subtle build up drives the song to a melodic burst of acoustic riffs, culminating in enough of a conclusion to tide the track to the relaxed conclusion of falsetto vocals it was crying out for from the first verse. O'Hagan must surely have realised this tracks potential as a closing (or opening) sentiment to live gigs whilst writing and as such, could easily have went overboard on the production, leaving the true sentiments lost in a barrage of unnecessary noise. Instead, a stripped back approach has maintained the heartfelt feelings you imagine such a beautiful track was written with. A fine opening.

This is followed by 'Like A Balloon'. What becomes immediate is the tracks reliance on a choir styled backing vocal and the subtle introduction of a xylophone, as utilized brilliantly by Snow Patrol ('You Could Be Happy' etc) amongst others in recent times. Unfortunately, this intertwining of instrumental addition doesn't quite click and 'Like A Balloon' struggles to capture like it's predecessor. This is unfortunate as the track suddenly bursts into life moments later, as a fade out of the opening verses transcends into a energetic Fleet Foxes style onrush of harmony. After this, the following verses begin to flow easier, as if the song has found its purpose again. By this stage, the listener once again feels entranced by His New Atlas's bold vocal and acoustic prowess, which is elevated again towards the end of the track when a build of steady drum beat, piano and the sort of folk styled compliments that would not look out of place on a Badly Drawn Boy album, unite to bring the EP to a strong close.

In all, an engaging and exciting release from an acoustic artist with both appeal and potential in equal measure.

Taylor Johnson.

If You Like...Fleet Foxes | Pretty Child Backfire | Charlie Simpson ~ You'll love His New Atlas.

Keep up to date with all His New Atlas news on the links below...


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