Dark poetry and emo-rock vocals seductively blend the contemporary scene’s tone with a strangely captivating lyrical backbone – Neil Stevenson’s debut EP seeks out beauty in times of struggle, and leads with strength of songwriting and production to really deliver.
The project’s intro outlines the direction well, lays bare the vocal sound and musicality with appeal. Then we get the title-track, Black Roses utilising images of shock factor and love in equal parts to really hold attention.
While the sound has a nostalgic presence about it, alt-rock of a kind of REM realm, with a dash of electro-pop, the writing and the overall melodic developments prove unique to this project. Neil Stevenson has captured a sound and style of his own right now, and furthermore, the songs on this project are consistently interesting – familiar melodies contrasted by intriguing lyrics in every case. And still the song’s are infectious, memorable, just all the more refreshing in their originality and fearless relaying of the subject matter.
From depression to relationship toxicity and addiction, Stevenson gets open and honest throughout this intimate, dreamy and immersive project. Is It Something You Want is an early highlight for the clear emotion and heartbreak driving the sound. Black Roses in full though makes for a worthy hit of escapism and understanding all at once.