The amount of singer/songwriters who I heard with the same formula of sadness, and an acoustic guitar and vocals must be in the hundreds if not thousands. The latest is Thomas Lancaster from California who strums basic chords and sings sad songs which all sound almost exactly the same on You Were Right I Was Wrong EP. That beings said you can’t argue that this EP isn’t cohesive.
If there is one piece of advice I can give to Lancaster or the many, many songwriters out there is that variation is essential. Take a look at artists like Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, Bonnie Prince Billy and Sufjan Stevens. If you listen to their albums there is an ebb and flow. Some songs have a crackling energy, some sound more hopeful, etc. In the case of You Were Right I Was Wrong EP there is no denying that the energy is dismal and depressing throughout every song. In fact he makes albums from some of the aforementioned bands sound cheerful.
Lancaster isn’t a bad singer or songwriter; in fact I did enjoy his vocals but getting through these songs depletes any energy you may have had. I’m not trying to say this in a negative way but one could drift to sleep because the songs move so slowly though morose and melancholy.
He opens with “Here To Stay” which is a fragile song about his pain. He sings in a whispered hush, “There's a burden I'm holdin that's weighing on this weary heart / Though the truth they say will set you free / It's better for me to keep it in.” “Just Dream” rides the same energy as the first and Lancaster continues to sing about his own pain. He sings, “I've been hurt by now enough to know /There's no easy way to let somebody go." The remaining three songs focus on the same sadness and hurt that Lancaster laments about in the first two songs.
If Lancaster is going to release a full-length album at any point in the future it will behoove him to expand his subject matter and the energy of the songwriting if he hopes to find a decent following. The five songs seem like some sort of solace for Lancaster himself rather than anything else. In fact I don’t know if they provide enough solace. The last lyrics on the closer point to a man who has lost the battle. He sings, “Maybe this is sign / Of my lack of strength / I've tried and tried / But I won't win this time.”
I don’t think it’s possible to create this type of art from a place that's not deeply personal. Hopefully Lancaster can continue to evolve as a songwriter and find the x-factor that can separate him from the crowd.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook