The phenomenon of the folk-rock singer-songwriter is hardly a new one, and the contingent only looks to be getting bigger; anywhere where there’s disenfranchisement or an emotional response to be had (so pretty much anything these days), there’ll always be a slew of musicians ready to bleed out over it. And while this is a largely American thing, artists like Frank Turner and Rob Lynch spearheading the UK wave has led to an increase of homegrown troubadours.
George Gadd, though, seems to be veering off in a different direction on his new EP ‘Better Shape’. As well as co-opting a sound indebted to jangly indie on tracks like ‘Runaway’, it’s a notably small and tight-knit project – songs about uni life and backing vocals from friends of friends are enough to give off that impression.
It’s an unassuming little EP, but it works so well, simply because there’s so much heart in it. Gadd isn’t the greatest vocalist in the world – imagine if John Mayer was from Nottingham and you’re halfway there – but there’s so much personality and emotional resonance that pours out of each of these five tracks, particularly in the gorgeously personal ‘Sycamore’.
And while ‘Better Shape’ is hardly going to set the world on fire, there’s a suspicion that that’s not the point. Rather, this EP sees Gadd laying his soul bare, brittle and poignant with zero pretension. More than that, it’s proof that to write powerful, attention-grabbing music, you don’t need to make a big noise.
‘Better Shape’ EP by George Gadd is out now on Under The Bridge Records (UK) and Safe And Clean Records (US)
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)