Every once in a great while one stumbles upon a great new voice, yet unknown to many though it should be. When I first heard Melbourne-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Connor Ross, it just clicked to me that this is a person whose music should be heard by as many folks as possible. Right now there are only a handful of songs to be heard, and they make up his five-song debut EP Come to Think.
Centered around acoustic guitar melodies Come to Think also subtly utilizes the addition of a rather full band which includes drums, percussion, bass and horns, along with a few vocal and tape effects. It is the sparse use of these things in most cases, which draws one into the world which Ross creates on Come to Think. The album was influenced by the natural beauty of Ross’ hometown of Far South Coast in New South Wales.
Come to Think opens with the sparse yet melodic “Feign Disbelief.” Its construction is brilliant as it opens quietly with soft acoustic guitar and Ross’ hushed poetic vocals. But it suddenly takes you by surprise, pulling you into it with the force of a whirlpool as Ross slowly stirs in a simple drumbeat and some tasty bass along with some bright keys. Then the horns come in and everything starts working together and it seems nearly impossible that this was the same song, which only a-minute-and-a-half ago was just a few plucked strings. Next we find some of these same instruments at work, albeit in quite a different element on the dusky and mellow “My Fear.”
On “Counter Truths,” Ross channels Devandra Banhart and Elliot Smith, as he blends a poppy acoustic melody and then with the use of multiple vocal tracks harmonizes with himself. Part of what makes Ross so good is that he is not afraid to experiment, as he does with a bit of fuzz that he turns up at just the right moment on the otherwise solo acoustic “No Hands.”
With the five songs on Come to Think there is no filler, no room for error. Connor Ross shows the dedication and focus to songwriting that produces great songs.
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