Well this past year has brought lots of great new music to my attention, it will have been a year since I wrote my first article for a blog on the 12th December and in that time I have had the pleasure of reviewing albums and gigs and interviewing all kinds of musicians, some I have known and been a fan of for a while and others I have been introduced to through this work. Today I bring you a review of Rob Richings EP, ‘Half Way Up’, someone I have just been introduced to but now I can’t stop listening to his songs. Rob writes songs primarily about his own life experiences, and this EP has four of his favourite songs that he has written on, brought to life with the help of producer Simon Johnson. Rob has had a difficult journey to get to this point being diagnosed with a rare form of Colitis which led to a five year battle with the illness but after three life saving operations Richings has a new lease of life. He says that the illness gave him a new perspective in life and has spurred him on and inspired him to be the best that he can be and follow his dreams and ambitions with his music.
The EP opens with ‘Half Way Up’, a mid tempo song with a really pretty guitar part, the rest of the instrumentation in this song is quite unique the way its arranged but the melody that the guitar is playing, mirrored by the high keys gets rooted in your memory. Its a lovely song with a strong relatable message behind it. Fantastic opener for the EP. Richings vocals have a breathiness and sincerity to them which makes them soft and easy to listen to. ‘Richer Man’ follows, this is more upbeat than the first track. I really like the storytelling lyrics he uses and the topic is relatable which is key. I believe this was written about his hometown of Swindon. The chorus is catchy, the melodies are strong and his use of meter is disciplined. This is my favourite song on the EP.
‘Carnival’ follows, again I really like this track, it begins with just an acoustic guitar, simple but perfect for the song. The backing vocals are really effective and the production compliments the lyrical themes which are also written very well. The use of the subtle organ throughout the song is a very good feature of the production and I really enjoyed the instrumental. In fact, I’ve changed my mind, this is my favourite song on the EP! The EP concludes with ‘Lord In The Attic’, which has a great concept, it was written whilst Rob was exploring Amstelkring in Amsterdam, a 17th Century Clandestine church. Again the acoustic guitar part is very good, he certainly knows how to use his instrument effectively in his writing. Richings’ vocals are clean and the backing vocals are spot on. It builds nicely when the drums come in and the addition of the strings is great, melodically they move and work well with the vocals and lyrics for example when he sings “fade in time” the strings decrease down the scale which is lovely. The production is very strong.
This is a fantastic body of work altogether and I’m told Rob is well on the way to writing and recording his debut album which we’re greatly looking forward to hearing. We’ll hopefully grab an interview with Rob on his return from Australia and ahead of his album being released. Until then check out Rob’s website and get yourself a copy of his EP.