Joshua Burnside - Blood Drive
Review by - James McGregor
Info: Northern Irish singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside releases his debut album 'Ephrata' on 5th May via Quiet Arch Records. Written in a burst of a few weeks whilst living in northern Colombia, the songs on the album deal with a diverse range of themes, from PTSD and technophobia, to larger questions about time, love and death in the modern age. Balanced with a diverse palette of sounds, Burnside deftly blends alt-folk and elements of the Irish folk song tradition with South American rhythms and Eastern European influences, whilst introducing synthetic and found-sounds, synths loops and crunching beats to create a stormy world that shifts and swirls perspective like a lingering lucid dream. The lead single, 'Blood Drive', was released at the end of March.
The haunting whir and screeching that relentlessly bleeds through this song immediately gives it an eerie feeling, and serves to carve it out from the rubric of a typical folk song. A dramatic and poetic story of the singer's dread at the sight of a blood drive in his area, Burnside himself explains 'Something as routine as getting your blood taken can set off a fight or flight style anxiety attack, all of a sudden it’s as if the world is ending.'
He uses this outline to frame an intimate and personal piece, reminiscent musically and arrangement wise to The National, yet with Jose Gonzalez-esque guitar and vocal-effects. These folky references are interwoven with subtle synths and effects which at times even recall a hint of early James Blake. Blending intimacy with epicness, the banal with the dramatic, Burnside has created a beautiful song, well suited to listening to in the car on a metropolitan night as the street lamps flash by.
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