The latter end of a great year in music sees Steve Millar – aka Arms and Hearts – release his EP ‘Set In Stone’. Presumably best listened to sat with a beer around a campfire with a few of your pals, this five track record impresses with its beautifully unpolished and honest finish. Reflective and bleak lyricism clashes with more upbeat instrumental backgrounds, creating an interesting contrast between happy and sad, boldly displaying exactly what Steve’s all about.
’Set In Stone’ is a journey through which Millar travels, and with three self-booked tours under his belt, it creates a realistic representation of genuine musicianship and the perseverance that comes with it.
Through opening track ‘Lost’, Millar insists that he in fact the exact opposite of lost, but reflects the aimless wandering that comes naturally with youth. Snappy acoustic guitar paired with a banjo addition creates a song of bittersweet goodness. ‘I, Malcontent’ follows a similar bright, upbeat structure but keeps the element of contrast as he captures his theme succinctly with one line, “I’m too young to be coughing up blood.”. ‘The Rain’ proves slow and calming but tinged with emotive lyricism, spicing the song up with the use of a pleasantly surprising harmonica. Hinting the journey is coming to its end, ‘Dust and Bone’ speaks of finding a way home and shifts the record into a hazy stupor. Layered overtop with gentle female vocals, closer ‘Take No Prisoners’ sleepily ties the album together peacefully and ends on a note which leaves an opening for Millar in the niche world of acoustic folk-punk.
‘Set In Stone’ EP by Arms and Hearts is out now on What Ya Saying Alice.
Words by Phoebe Messenger.