Looking For Hot Singles #6

EP CoverAiden Dale – Head / Heart – EP Review

Hailing from Hertfordshire, singer songwriter Aiden Dale’s debut release has come at the perfect time, as the icy colds of a bitter winter melt away into spring. Dale has an immediately identifiable voice that sounds like it would be a perfect fit amidst new-wave 80s bands like INXS or Men at Work. But here those soft, undulating vocals are transplanted into the conventions of acoustic folk music. And the operation is a successful one.

Leading with title track ‘Head / Heart’, Dale begins his lone foray into the world of music with a devilishly catchy exploration of confessional love. Utilising an upbeat guitar picking style, alongside expressive percussion elements and a punchy yet delicate bassline, ‘Head / Heart’ lures you in with its lulling rhythm, until you inevitably find yourself singing along to the chorus within your very first listen.

After this intriguing opening, ‘Bananas’ develops a grittier edge to Dale’s personality. With its hammered rhythm guitar dominating proceedings, the song resembles the makings of a classic rock ballad. But, despite its darker tone, ‘Bananas’ still manages to sound fresh due to Dale’s smooth, juxtaposing vocal line. Short and sweet, the track is ripe from start to finish.

The third track, ‘Present Tense’, presents a stripped back Dale, allowing us to focus on the singer songwriter himself. With some well-harmonised double-tracked vocals, ‘Present Tense’ manages to be melancholic without stagnating. The inclusion of a distorted organ and a relatively trap-like hi-hat beat in the second verse provide an exciting change in tempo, which keeps the song ticking until it’s memorable conclusion.

The creatively titled ‘Primitive Roast’ marks the end of Dale’s all-too-short EP. Perhaps Head / Heart’s most standout track, where the relationship between Dale’s vocals and the instrumental sections is most well balanced, it’s a fitting end to a stellar EP.

Breaking out as a solo artist with an EP of self-written songs is never an easy task, but Head / Heart marks a successful start for Dale. With this solid foundation, Dale should continue his journey by looking to explore more ranges of his voice, attempting a few more daring lyrics, and not restricting himself to an already saturated musical market. Because Aiden Dale is effortlessly charming, but he needs to push himself further before he can capture our heads as well as our hearts.

Robert Cairns

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