With a vocal style that reminds us of Donovan, but a lyric and musical style reminiscent of Bowie, Participant’s sound is unsurprisingly very interesting.
The stage name of Dubliner Stephen Tiernan, Participant began as a project to stave off boredom between other musical projects with the band Heritage Centre, for whom he plays bass. It quickly became his primary focus, resulting in his debut EP, ‘Bit Slow’, last year.
Participant is back with his latest offering, ‘Content’. An EP combining Electro-Pop stylings with dreamy Shoegaze vocals, it’s actually made exclusively by Tiernan sampling from his past recordings, demos, and other projects. The result is a library of sounds and textures which fit perfectly with his sincere and heartfelt songs. With an incredible attention to detail, the resulting songs are layered, evocative and intricate, with gossamer light vocals.
Content expands upon the themes broached on ‘Bit Slow’ whilst also pushing into new territories. Feelings of procrastination, frustration and fear weave there way through ‘Content’ yet give way to moments of beauty, hope and self-realisation.
Speaking about his solo projects, Stephen said,
“I didn’t realise it until afterwards but ‘Bit Slow’ was a weight I’d been carrying for years. Since it’s release I’ve gained more pleasure from music than ever before. It might not be obvious at first listen but ‘Content’ has an undercurrent of hope and love. Feelings I’d struggled with incorporating into my music until recently.”
Our favourite song is the opener, ‘Your Better’, but all are equally beautiful. Check ‘Content’ out here: