Lewis Mckale is an actor and part-time singer-songwriter, his recent EP The Bigger Picture is in fact only a side project of his. Mckale presents us with a rather unique sound; the folky toe-tapping EP is filled with quivering vocals, interesting pronunciations and sweet poppy melodies, even if the lyrics are slightly nauseating at times.
The Bigger Picture is the first track on the EP, introducing soft gentle acoustics coupled with mystifying vocals. His simplistic approach really exposes the break and vibrato in his voice, with his tendency to slip in and out of tune echoing the sound of Bright Eyes‘ Conor Oberst. The piano is most welcome towards the end of the song as eerie harmonies and chimes are introduced, the latter part of this track definitely out-ways the start.
Next we have Those Were The Days, that ‘country-folk’ vibe, harmonica and feel good melody is an instant hit… Despite Mckale’s distinctive voice and apparent way with melody, the lyrics really do let the song down. The message has every good intention, but I guess it’s just a little too obvious, that ‘let’s all live for the moment’ talk has all been done before. It’s such a shame because there are several beautiful moments in his voice, albeit alongside several flat notes too.
Prove You Wrong is the third track on the EP. That country taste in the riff and surprisingly powerful vocal make this my favourite track of the four. The vibrato in his voice makes you shiver as we get to hear a lot more of his range, I must say it was pleasantly surprising after the first two tracks. That huskier fast paced sound definitely suits him a lot better.
Finally there’s (Don’t) Forget Who You Are. This relaxed acoustic number yet again commences peacefully with a slow catchy pop beat. The lower register of his voice is far better than the top during this final track, it seems like Mckale is really forcing those top notes, unfortunately this strain diverts attention from the actual song.
There’s definitely potential within this EP. Mckale has a distinctive and unusual voice, he is obviously a talented musician and is heading in the right direction, it’s just a case of really finding ‘that sound’ and not being too obvious.
Words by Amy Morrison
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