EP Review | Jamie D’arcy Marries Acoustics And Electronics On Learning To Live (Part 1)
Learning To Live (Part I) is the debut EP from Kildare-based singer-songwriter Jamie D’Arcy. Citing the likes of Ben Howard, David Kitt, Radiohead and Big Thief as influences; D’Arcy’s approach to songwriting marries elements of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with honest and emotional lyrics.
Opening and punctuated with atmospheric, pensive interludes (‘In My Lap’ and ‘One Winter Morning’), the EP boasts four songs which merely hint at D’Arcy’s potential, kicking off proper with ‘Let You Know’, a lover’s lament set to a ticking clock beat and buoyed with bubbling synths.
D’Arcy’s arrangements are stark, opting to fill space with smaller embellishments, some obvious right at the outset like the circling guitar leads on ‘For You’, some that reveal more of themselves with each listen like the wordless vocalisations and subtle percussion on the Latin-tinged ‘The Sea’.
What works in the EP’s favour is the variation in tone and delivery throughout. ‘For You’ plays out like a cousin of Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’ in waltz time, while closing track ‘Memories Of You’ is more straightforward. All the while, D’Arcy’s vocal delivery is honeyed and earnest, Howard a clear influence on his cadence.
If there are faults to be found with the record, it’s the lack of a killer hook in spite of the clear ear for a good melody displayed throughout, and, across the four actual songs, not much by variation in theme – love lost, love held on to, promises made in the name of love.
All in all, Learning To Live is a pleasant and enjoyable listening experience. Sonically, there is enough variation and tricks to warrant repeated listens but lyrically, while no doubt relatable, doesn’t offer much by way of refreshing insight.
Perhaps that will come with Part II.