Review : ONE-EARED BOY – The March,The Burden, And The Desert EP (2021)


ONEEARED BOY is in essence Paul B. Picard who is based in Paris. He has a new six track EP released this month `The March, The Burden, And The Desert` which was recorded and produced at home, with a minimalist recording studio set-up so as to keep a lo-fi texture. His influences range from the voices of Delta blues to soul legend James Carr, folk singer Dave Van Ronk and Beck’s discography in the 90’s.

This extended play opens with `Ain`t No Good` and the first thing that hits you is the singers deep, lived in, almost gravelly voice, akin to singers like Tom Waits, Nick Cave and even Captain Beefheart. That said the number is a kind of retro soulful outing with some thumping drums, shook tambourine and wah wah guitar. It really reminded me of those undiscovered Northern Soul gems that`ll have the faithful filling a dance floor. There`s more of a field-holler gospel-blues vocal style with `How Well Do You Walk Through The Fire?` which becomes delightfully mesmerising as it evolves. The vocal harmonies were particularly captivating.

`George` is shared in a similar vein but a tad more stripped back with vocals, harmonies and hand clapping leading us through this brief offering. Again, `Lies` is a concise piece with initially vocals that seem brimming with anguish and a furiously strummed guitar. At about the midway point we have a resonating guitar join and a thumping drum beat to add to the wonderful intensity of the piece which seems to end with a thundercrack.

`Normandy Nights` is a more laid back number with a strummed acoustic guitar and vocals that had me in mind of Kelly Jones of The Stereophonics and seemed to relate a quite introspective melancholic tale of times gone by. We close out with the charmingly upbeat and uplifting `Snow & Silence` which enjoys a real cacophony of sounds with a strummed guitar, brass tinges, a tinkling piano, a shook tambourine, organ splashes and vocals riding atop. A cracking track that`ll have you tapping your foot along to it and had a slight Phil Spector wall of sound vibe to it.

There was so much to enjoy on `The March, The Burden, And The Desert` and you think well if this fella had access to a major recording studio what would he create? But that`s the beauty of this artist he makes this kind of music because he`s independent and self-reliant and as the idiom goes he`s `paddling his own canoe`, pursuing his own path and on the strength of this release that has to be applauded and encouraged.

Rating 9/10

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