Leading with precisely the crisp and clean finished implied by the title, Terry Blade’s EP Misery (Mastered For Headphones) offers a beautifully intimate, soulful performance that connects on a deeply human level.
The Unloveable starts things up and the acoustic guitar sound is immediately captivating and calming. Here we get as close to a live performance as possible during these times of distance. Some fine playing and a memorable riff make up the backbone of the song’s rhythm and ambiance, then there’s Blade’s equally soulful voice, expressive and meandering in a long-form, refreshing fashion, completing the process with further authenticity and considerate poetry.
The Mentally Ill follows, and while Blade’s vocal style and tone are instantly recognisable, there’s a full set-up here – keys, drums, additional vocals. This shoulder-swaying piece injects a strangely warming aura into the room, which stylishly juxtaposes the inner demons and difficulties at the centre of the writing. All at once we get a hypnotic groove, and an honest outpouring that seeks to understand; and be understood.
The Widow is another mighty groove, beginning with space and a simple click, suggestive of bigger things to come. The song progresses into something of an alternative Gospel anthem. Melancholy envelops the listener, and the performance cries out on their behalf. A superb hook finishes things off beautifully and helps make this an easy highlight from the project.
Towards the end, Broken turns back to acoustic simplicity, with lovely guitar work, and a softly spoken, questioning hit of lyricism. Then we get further impressive guitar playing from The Other Side, and these two songs together make for a bold reminder that a solo acoustic show is where Terry Blade’s music would really come alive. His intimate, concerned and revealing lyrics are unique amidst such soulful, hopeful melodies and chord progressions.
The final song on the EP is the unexpectedly ambient and somewhat out-there Tick Tock (The Lonely). A select few cinematic details combine with a distant beat, dashes of experimentation, and another display of pure human emotion and vulnerability.
The arrangement here is as unusual as the title, and the song finishes the EP with a genuine air of artistic freedom – a strength that seems to stand tall amidst Terry Blade’s uninhibited and authentic approach to songwriting and performance.
Visit Terry Blade’s Website for more information.