Out on 18-November, Joshua Burnside‘s Late Afternoon In The Meadow (1887) EP is a soundtrack to a summer day in Ireland with muted tones of forest greens, sunny golds, and whispers of comforting grey wrapping the listener in a gentle hug.
Influenced by Irish traditional songs, Burnside experiments with being a songwriter, singer, and producer by playing with sound, lyrics, and production.
Burnside’s debut album Ephrata (2017) won the ‘Best Album’ award at the 2017 NI Music Prize and was followed by Wear Bluebells in Your Hat if You’re Going’ that Way (2019), Live At The Elmwood Hall (2019), Into The Depths Of Hell (2020), and Higher Places (2021).
Ahead of his 2023 album release (date TBC), Burnside gifts fans with a five song EP called, Late Afternoon In The Meadow (1887).
Pretty Vacant One was fortunate to have an advance listen to the EP and it shall not disappointment long time fans or new ones, like us.
Opening with spoken word underneath a soft violin, the somber “Woven” kicks off the EP. As Burnside’s vocals start to echo through the song, what I notice is the great use of autotune. It sounds as if his vocals are being run through the concertina (or perhaps it is an accordion) that accompanies him on this song. The use of the modern autotune with the traditional concertina (or accordion) is my favourite part of this song.
The title track, “Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)”, while vocally and lyrically traditional Irish sounding, it’s the music that the vocals and lyrics lay over that make this song modern. There are haunting echoes of ‘space waves’ and ‘space noise’ that are interwoven with the guitar, strings, and percussion. Burnside once again shows the talent within his ear to blend a modern sound with that of traditional sound.
My favourite thing about “Louis Mercier” is the distinct clicks I can hear of the concertina/accordion throughout the song. The story Burnside paints with his lyrics and music, is vivid, bright, and bold. One can see the story unfold as they listen to the song. It is the most upbeat track on the EP and for me the most traditional of Irish sound. I can picture a pub full of locals singing and swaying back and forth to this song.
Opening with the line, ‘I’m sorry that today all I could see was the worst in you and the worst in me’, “Rough Edges” is raw and visceral. There is a soft heartache to the song that gives me Damien Rice sadness. The song is the most modern sounding song on the album and the lyrically the boldest.
As much as I am a sucker for a solid, bold, thunderous bass line, I am also a sucker for traditional instruments especially those within a traditional sounding song and the instrumental, “Where White Lillies Bloom” gives me that. A beautiful and delicate violin is paired wonderfully with the compressed bellows of the concertina which for me is almost bass like. It’s low, beckoning, and hypnotic. There’s something that connects my heart to this song. Maybe it’s the concertina, or just maybe it’s the hopefulness that swells in my chest while listening. Whatever it is, this is my favourite track on the album.
Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887) has one foot grounded in the past while one foot moves forward. The EP is a wonderful snapshot in time and space.
I cannot wait to hear what Joshua Burnside will present next.
Pre-save Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887) below.
Watch the video for “Rough Edges” below
Watch the video for “Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)” below