Evolution is what makes humans the race we are. While Darwin’s theory of evolution is most notably recognised by the summary of ‘survival of the fittest’, it also speaks about one’s ability to adapt and change to its environment. And here on his current EP A Boy And His Rose, Sean Heathcliff has shown that he has most certainly adapted and changed since his earlier days of music.
The former Snakadaktal member his gone out on his own and put together five tracks that go a long way in setting the scene for where Heathcliff is as a musician currently. Opening track is the EP titular track “A Boy And His Rose”. Coming in at just over three minutes, “A Boy And His Rose” is an entirely instrumental piece that moves away from The XX vibes Snakadaktal were embracing, and moves down a more progressive, if not entirely adventurous, avenue. Upon hearing the instrumental I was immediately reminded of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their track “Maps”. And while it actually sounds nothing like it, considering I thought it was reminiscent of “Maps” indicates how good a track “A Boy And His Rose” really is.
Next up is the extraordinary “Ordinary”. This is a track that is sure to soundtrack many rainy drives home after a long and tedious day at work. The calming tone of Heathcliff’s voice places the listener in a state of ease, and helps remove any uncertainty you may have about where Heathcliff is moving through out the rest of the EP. The closing minute of the track is possibly my favourite crescendo I’ve heard from a track this year. It doesn’t build up and go catastrophic, but ties up “Ordinary” in a not so ordinary fashion. The understated guitar and drums are a real treat.
The brilliant “Hunter”, while simultaneously dreamy and wistful, is a little too depressing and leaves the listener a little concerned about Heathcliff and the experiences he went through to write the song. A track of self-doubt and loss, “Hunter” pulls at the heartstrings as Heathcliff continually repeats the lyrics ‘what would I know?’ through out the bridge.
Probably the weakest of the EP, “Coco Shaded Eyes” is also its most simple, with just vocals and guitar being heard. The imagery created by its lyrics, while quite pleasant, doesn’t really help the track go anywhere. The disappointment of “Coco Shaded Eyes” is quickly forgotten however, with closer “Too Far” a stellar closer to the EP. The most experimental of the five track EP, the layering and looping of “Too Far” makes it a track that shouldn’t be ignored when listening to the release.
While his days in Snakadaktal may be over, the evolution of Sean Heathcliff is here for all to see. While there are still traces of who he was a few years ago musically, there are enough changes here to make you excited about where he could go next.
Review Score: 7.4 out of 10.
A Boy And His Rose is out now.