Chest of Drawers is singer/songwriter Dylan MacWilliams. He recently released a self-titled demo quality EP Chest of Drawers. The EP contains five songs of nothing more than vocals and guitar.
The EP was recorded on an iPhone and is about what you would expect as far as recording quality. I can’t say the songs are close to a professional sounding product but at the very least they give you an idea of MacWilliams’ songwriting.
Up first is “Cloudy City Only Lonely” which has a picking pattern that reminded me of Elliot Smith. MacWilliams sings “cloudy city, mississippi river, reverse, revert tired mind in minnesota report, repress, rehearse.” It's a decently written song that has some catchy moments. It became evident to me that his strongest aspect of music right now are the lyrics which are sometimes ambiguous and poetic. On “Stars Turn Sharp” he sings, ”candle light to candle death from memory to dust don't dwell they say get back to normal must I must- I must.”
“Ode to my Cool Disorder” felt like a journal entry and therapy sessions. His lyrics are nihilistic and awfully depressing here. He make Conor Oberst seem cheerful. Lyrics like “oh I think about death most of the time” and “I set myself up and expect it to feel bad, and it feels bad, feels fucking bad” made me just flat out feel sorry for whoever he was singing about.
MacWilliams is going to have to improve the recording quality at some point if he wants to be competitive with any notable acts. That's just a fact. The other fact is you don’t need much to sound decent. Doing some basic homework on how to record properly and mix can help immensely. Better yet, recording in a professional studio would be easy with his current setup.
The best part about the music is it feels honest. It also feels his songwriting is an outlet for his own personal demons. On that note I’d like to see him develop more as a songwriter and think about about more elements than just a guitar or at the very least over dubbing. There is a lot of work he needs to do in order to be competitive with similar acts like Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine, etc but is has potential and some passion.
Music is obviously important to MacWilliams but he falls into a case of wait and see as of right now. Developing on the instrumental side of things while going about finding better production would be a good start.
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