Some albums and EPs take a while to warm up – they can sound uninviting at first but there’s enough there to draw you in, and they grow richer with time. Some are immediately engaging and stay engaging. Matt J Ward’s debut EP is in the latter category. It contains five songs in what has been described as an Americana style – that descriptor is being used a lot lately, probably because the musicians concerned have Americana influences (and I can hear Whiskeytown in this EP), but I hear Australia in these songs too, despite three song names with American references (‘Terlingua’, ‘Neil Young’, ‘America’).
The reason I hear Australia is because this EP, like quite a bit of music I’ve heard lately, has echoes of Australian lyric-led pop/rock of the 1980s and 1990s, and that’s just fine, as this brings some nostalgia into play as well as the joy of discovery.
The tracks are mostly upbeat, troubadour fare; Ward has a briskly warm voice and he sounds like he’s enjoying himself, which is always nice to hear.
If an EP is a test of an artist’s audience – is there enough here to merit an album? – then Ward should find some fans who eagerly await the next instalment.
Matt J Ward & The Rising Sons is out now.