The Juniper Berries is the solo project from Joshua Stirm. Stirm released Baby Face EP, which revolves around lightly strummed acoustic guitars, soft pads and vocals. The songs are hit and miss. The songs have some potential but truth be told they are held back by the subpar recording. Stirm used the resources he had and while not competitive with a professional recording at least give you a general idea of his song writing.
The first song “Thrown Into the Thick of It” revolves around drums, basic chord progression, soft pads and Stirm’s vocals. “Thrown Into the Thick of It” isn’t Stirm’s strongest vocal performance. He is occasionally off key and when he tries to higher notes his delivery can feel a little off. The strongest aspect is the lyrics. He sings, “He's too serious looking down at the both of Us You should've been able to tell that We were horribly underfed please help Us He throws chairs.”
Things improve on the next “Eaten Up To Dust.” His vocals are tighter but still contain a nasally inflection that may turn some people off. Musically, the song is melancholy and almost dreamlike. A combination of the softly strummed guitar, pads and lyrics create this atmosphere. He sings, “I seem to remember who You used to be now today She's gone Eaten Up To Dust.”
“Southbound” is the highlight on the EP. Stirm delivers his best vocal performance and the song is quite inventive at times. The juxtaposition between the pads and the guitar playing worked well on this song. Right around the minute mark you can hear what I’m talking about. On the last song “Baby Face” Stirm’s vocals are subdued. The song has some fine moments such as the guitar work around a-minute-and-a-half in and the catchy chorus.
Stirm has talent but will need to make some leaps if he hopes to be competitive with some of the best music out there today. The songs on this EP were part of a songwriting challenge to write a song every day for a month. Apparently, these five songs were ones he wrote for that challenge. I would like to see what Stirm is capable of when taking a little bit more time with the writing process.
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