The five song debut EP of Jacob Kinniburgh’s Content announces the arrival of a formidable songwriting and musical talent. The Australian talent calls upon a variety of musical influences for Content’s material and though there are obvious debts owed, you’d be hard pressed to identify any specific artists influencing the songwriter. Kinniburgh is a remarkably versatile singer. His chief strength is communicating emotion but he’s skilled enough to draw from a much wider gamut than you might expect going into this release.
His songs sometimes embrace an atmospheric feel. “Lantern” doesn’t rely on that approach but, when it does, the results are exceptional. One highlight comes when every instrument falls away except for the organ. It holds a note and simmers for a beat before swelling into the song’s next passage. This mild explosive effect of this moment adds a lot to the track. He’s layered tasty guitar playing throughout the song. It has a great length for an opening song. Running just under four minutes allows Content the opportunity to develop the song’s musical ideas without ever overstaying its welcome.
“Coming for You” will conjure many emotions. It has moments close to lyrical beauty, both musically and lyrically, but there’s also a disjointed quality to the performance more esoteric music fans will appreciate. Rarely has a threatening lyric received such a beguiling treatment. Yin’s backing vocals for the song gives the track a crucial counterpoint to Kinniburgh’s voice and Kathleen Halloran’s guitar work moves between passages full of unease, eloquent melodies, and aggressive runs during the second part of the song.
PURCHASE LINK: https://content.band/new-ep
Alex Mraz’s mixing is an important element in the EP’s success. “Inside”, the third track, has a roaming yet always consistent tempo and owes a significant amount to reggae/dub influences. It will be difficult for many to not fall in love with the plaintive and deeply felt vocals. Kinniburgh’s organ playing cooks just below the mix. “Milk and Honey” showcases SK Simeon’s vocal skills that are a good match for both the song and his own singing talents. The dub influence on the vocals is, of course, stronger than ever before and it’s difficult to imagine purists disliking the track despite its strong individual character.
“Just the Day” has the same deceptive reach. Content’s songs superficially sound like simple and straight-ahead affairs but a closer listen to the tracks reveals wider ambitions. His willingness to incorporate an assortment of musical textures into the material sets him apart from many peers and contemporaries. Yin’s backing vocals are a great foil for Kinniburgh once again. There’s no filler present on this release; he’s focused from the first and never wavers.
Future releases will likely exhibit the same characteristics. Everything about Content’s music smacks of an artist who is in this for the long haul; writing songs and shepherding them to a public release usually isn’t an easily exhausted whim. He’s writing material that sparkles with unique and jarring ingenuity but, likewise, remains accessible to virtually any listener. This self-titled EP is one of 2021’s better “under the radar” releases.
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