Hailing from Cork, Ireland, Beyond The Wash classifies himself as an Alt-Pop artist and lists Radiohead, David Bowie and FKA Twigs as some of his biggest influences. "Murmurings" is his Debut EP and features several songs which were previously released as singles in 2019 and early 2020 to great acclaim. Let’s get stuck in and have a listen!
The opening track, Uruguay, on this Ep is described by BTW as “An acoustic awakening”. It begins with a folkish optimism and delicately plucked guitar. A lot of emphasis is placed on dynamics in this tune, shifting from a sparse guitar and piano arrangement, to a driven four to the floor kick drum and heavy tremolo guitar for the chorus. I’m a huge fan of this and it lends itself well to the story-line, that of a conflicted songwriter who confronts his own life choices. Lines such as, “It doesn’t pay enough and it’s taking up too much of his time” and “The only thing shining in this bedsit full of wine is the moon”, serve to paint a vivid description of the less than glamorous life of an artist. In the climax of this song we’re left with the line, “So let me be, gifted with madness”. The struggling artist has embraced his passion and acknowledges that it might not bring him all of the riches he desires, but something far more valuable.
According to BTW, ’Dusktime’, “Reflects this Summer Burn” and conforms nicely to the seasonal theme of the EP. Though this track has traits of a synth pop summer hit, we are carried nicely from the folk vibe of the previous tune by way of delicate piano intro. In come heavy synths and effected vocals emphasized by a syncopated beat propelling the song forward. I can hear elements of David Byrne/Talking Heads in the instrumentation mixed with vocal phrasing of Chris Martin of Coldplay. Listening to the Ep as whole it’s at this point where the music picks up pace, we’re reaching for something more.
Misty Morning has a “Crisp Feeling to it” say’s BTW and I tend to agree with him. This song fits in more with a slow country ballad, with elements of Americana, and serves as a nice contrast to the rest of the EP. We’re treated to some lovely lap steel playing which sets the tone early. While in the previous two tunes BTW uses lyrical content to paint a picture, in this track we see the voice being used as more of an instrument to evoke an emotional response from the listener. High falsettos give the feel of a lament and is slightly melancholic.
For the last track on this EP we see a dynamic shift towards a dark and stormy vibe reminiscent of Radiohead or Early Maroon 5. This is my personal favourite song from this EP and it shows great diversity in BTW’s song-writing. Drums and bass are really holding the groove down which leaves guitar and synths free to explore new sonic territories. Use of panning, delays and numerous guitar effects lend themselves well to the mood of this song. The vocal is also a lot grittier and menacing in this song and BTW selects some choice melody notes which keeps our ears guessing.
Having had this EP playing on repeat for a couple of weeks now I can safely say it features some of the freshest material I have heard in a long while. I was blown away by the diversity of songs and range of genres that were covered. Delectable melodies coupled with thought provoking lyrics which stuck with me for days at a time. The production value on Murmurings is exceptional and as a fellow recording artists I’m left with all of these nerdy questions, “Where did you record this? Who played Drums? WHO MIXED THIS??”. It’s clear a huge amount of thought went in to this piece of work and I recommend you consume it as it was intended, in one sitting. Block out 20 minutes of your day for this and don’t skip through a single second.