Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Qwerty Mick’s debut EP If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now is a quirky, charming half dozen of lo-fi bedroom-pop tracks that showcases a more inquisitive mind than its playful aesthetic cares to admit.
There is much to enjoy throughout these six tracks, delivered in just under twenty minutes. Sonically, Qwerty Mick employs a jangly guitar tone, jazzy chord progressions, sprechgesang vocals, and queasy synths set against a minimalistic rhythm section. The key is in the details, however. Each track is arranged in such a way that highlights Mick’s keen eye for subtleties, with each having it’s own unique musical treat to feast on, whether it be the acoustic guitar-led cold opening to ‘Eternal Optimist’ that leads seamlessly into a coffee-house jazz rhythm, or the jagged-yet-melodic stabs of reverberated guitars that punctuate ‘Graffiti Literature’. Elsewhere, we hear whistle-along synths at the back end of ‘Google Your Symptoms’, a funk rock jam to close out ‘Slumlord’, and a complete change of pace on the pensive ‘What a Kip’.
The music alone is fun to listen to, no doubt, but the EP’s secret weapon is found in its lyrical content and Mick’s sardonic vocal delivery. Cryptic but poetic at surface level, there is a lot here to analyse. On ‘Eternal Optimist’ Mick muses:
“Why do I feel such a need to relate? / Well it’s the same reason / Wounds can’t be cleaned with a power hose / But you no longer cross the road / Even when the green man says it’s safe to do so”
I don’t know either, but isn’t that the point? Meanwhile, ‘Google Your Symptoms’ is about a lot more than modern-day hypochondria (“Blurring of your vision so you roar out good riddance / But you’ll miss your dissident spirit”). All delivered with the aplomb of Earl Sweatshirt at the top of his game.
An album that is as much fun as it is a literary experience, If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now is a remarkable debut. Its charm is in its vocal delivery and its multitude of subtleties, both sonic and lyrical, all very much in keeping with the enigmatic persona its creator has chosen to present himself with.