Immediately brightening up the room with its opening song, Mark Rogers’ follow-up EP to the wonderful Rearranged is an easily enjoyable hit. Qualifiers brings together multiple layers of organic musical colour with the artist’s own unquestionably genuine sounding voice and stories that lean in a similarly honest, effectively scene-setting direction.
No Bigger Fool builds in the way that any great blues-rock piece should, though it has a certain softness that brings it closer to the country side of things as well, so you get a little of everything while really just feeling comforted by good songwriting and skillful musicianship.
The title track from this EP mellows things out a little, gorgeous guitar work from both the acoustic and electric angles works to craft an emotionally gentle ambiance that appropriately accompanies the subject matter and the direct addressing of a significant other. The details hold tight to your attention, reiterating the roots of the genre and the truthfulness and story-telling inherent in that.
Imagining takes the mellow vibe a little further, again those guitars work beautifully in drawing you in and calming the moment. There’s an intimacy to the vocal delivery and melody, you can tell that a live solo performance would bring through this exact level of realness and delicacy. It evolves to be a gorgeous song and a definite highlight for me. The instrumental break after the hook cleverly allows you to relate and try out that idea of imagining or day dreaming for yourself.
The Blues Are Passing By brings a cool bit of colour and rhythm to the project. The piano is a welcomed touch, as is the rhythm and gentle funk of the guitar. The hook works well, those words and the rhythm with which they are presented – even their placement within the piece – it captures your affection pretty quickly. You Can Lead Me On follows and keeps the energy bright and hopeful. The story-line seems optimistic, the harmonies in the hook stand tall and push things even further in the way of addictive, immersive musicality. Some of the lyrics here are distinctly poetic and this adds a lot to the value and beauty of the song. Another highlight, growing more and more enjoyable as it progresses.
The EP comes to a close with the all-inclusive and thought-provoking song The World Changed Forever. The concept is unexpected, it takes you by surprise and the minimalist nature of the set-up on top of this makes certain you’re paying attention. This collection for the most part appears to be about love, relationships, so this sudden take on the whole world, on the life of an icon – the death of that icon – makes for a totally unique addition to an already enjoyable playlist. Much like the way a certain Lennon song would re-capture the world’s attention, in just about any setting, this song seeks to do the same thing. Acoustic and real, feeling a little like Vincent in its personal, honest, gentle addressing of a legend. A great way to finish.