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EP Review: "A Boy Called El" by Earl.

In today’s world, it’s nothing strange to see a member of a band building a solo career as well as that with his mates. It allows them more creative flexibility without having to change the sound of their band, helps avoid the creative head-bashing with their mates and in some cases, it works out really well. In others- not so much. Its a brave decision to make and that’s why I admire any artists who is capable of finding the perfect balance between their band and solo ventures.

If you’re following the local music scene, Hounding is a name you most definitely will be familiar with. Their grunge vibe, aggressive tone and energetic performances make you want to spin-kick the shit out of your surroundings. They’re a band that would start a mosh pit at a retirement home.

That’s why, when El Tyler (guitar and vocals at Hounding) approached me with some new music he is releasing, I was eager to find out just what he’s been up to. Will it be an absolute disaster comparable to that of Mick Jagger going solo, or an absolute thing of beauty like Beyonce outgrowing Destiny’s child? Let’s find out…

A Boy Called El (released on 14th June 2019) is the solo EP by Earl. The first impression you get is that this isn’t going to be a happy ride, rather a throwback to when you were 14 with black hair and fringe going way past your eye level; a throwback to the emo stage we all loved so much. Sure enough, the melancholic melody and the softly sang lyrics coming straight from within really do make a good emo throwback.

Let’s start with the melody itself. A slow tempo ballad theme is apparent throughout the EP. This is a great choice for the lyrics and it highlights the pain and struggles the artist is trying to put across. What is also a good choice is the simplicity of it all. You won’t find heavy distortion, complicated riffs or out of this world solos here. Instead, a well balanced mix of simplicity and emotion behind every note. A lot of artists fall into the trap of wanting to make their melodies big and beefy, with heavy distortion or overdrive and killer drums rather than making the instruments compliment their lyrics. This is certainly NOT the case here.

The lyrics take us on a journey through pain, heartbreak and love. Earl talks about not being able to move on, wanting to give up and losing his confidence after screwing things up. It’s all the things we all go through during tough times and more. The way he portrays his feelings in a calm and balanced manner tells us its not a new thing. Many of us would experience these feelings over and over again. It also gives an impression that he’s ready to give up. He doesn’t want to be the person he was and so he “burns the effigy of the person” he was before. Earl bares it all, he lets us see his true emotion, none of that ‘let’s pretend’ bullshit. The raw feelings in every word he sings stings like a bee and you feel it like they’re coming from your own heart. It’s a brave thing to do, exposing your feelings like that and for that alone this EP deserves all the recognition it is about to get.

All in all, this is a great piece of music and I can’t wait to see where this journey will take Earl. A great effort both lyrically and musically and although one would be forgiven for not being a fan of the production, I believe it just highlights the story behind the EP. It isn’t supposed to be the next big (aka crap) thing being overplayed on the radio, none of that commercial shithousery. It’s a story of A Boy Called El. And that boy certainly has some serious talent which I look forward to seeing more of in the future. You can purchase 'A Boy Called Earl' on bandcamp by clicking this link -> https://earl.bandcamp.com/album/a-boy-called-el

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