Recommended Tracks: “The Swim Back”, “Union Chapel”
Artists You May Like: Bon Iver, The 1975, Clairo
In the ever-evolving music world, artists are always tweaking and experimenting with their sound. Country vocalists may decide to go pop, rap artists find solace in rock, and indie icons become DJ extraordinaires. There are times when this change of pace works for them and other times when it fails miserably, but in the end, trying something different is part of the creative process. Otherwise, how are artists supposed to grow? Interested in seeing what else is out there, former Yellowcard vocalist William Ryan Key has been on his own musical journey for the past few years, and is now giving us his most experimental project yet with Everything Except Desire.
Key definitely explores his potential on this EP, weaving intricate soundscapes that deviate from the music he has released on his previous solo EPs and projects with Yellowcard. Throughout Everything Except Desire, Key mostly combines elements of synth with various percussion to create an ethereal atmosphere. This type of production does well to balance out the heaviness we feel from the lyrics, as the sweeping piano or buoyant synth riffs take us for a blissful ride. The serene opening track, “The Swim Back,” showcases Key’s artistry the most, as it is entirely instrumental.
For the lyrics, Key focused inward. When talking about the EP, he explained that he wanted to understand aspects of his vulnerability that he did not understand, such as why he let things that were not in his best interest just happen to him instead of taking control. There are tracks such as “Brighton” and “Heavens,” where he searches for answers to these questions, wanting the truth. We also have the reflective “Union Chapel,” where he paints desolate scenes of empty hotel rooms and closed windows before painfully stating, “and you’re not here.” Whether he is speaking to himself on these tracks or to someone else, that is up for debate, but he surely gets reflective and confronts situations that have been weighing him down.
Overall, Everything Except Desire is an abstract listen. Key presents interesting ideas that are not fully realized, as he is yet to figure out the meaning of what he is going through. In between these ideas, we get lush music to fill in the gaps, creating a calm space that encourages one to pause and let go. We will see if Key will continue forward on this creative journey, and if he does, we will be here waiting for more.
You can listen to Everything Except Desire on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.