The release of ‘Late Afternoon In The Meadow (1887)’ sees singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside delve into stylistic diversity, fusing the echoes of traditional Irish folk songs with fluorescing indie vulnerability. Creating a multilayered soundscape, Burnside brings to life a poetically poignant perspective of home, for all its beauty and darkness.
The Co. Down musician rose to fame in 2013, with the release of his debut EP ‘If You’re Goin’ That Way’. He has since gone on to earn acclaim as an emerging talent, winning ‘Best Album’ at the NI Music Prize in 2017. Set to embark on a UK & Ireland tour this March, there’s no doubt his flare for blending electronica, folk, acoustic rock and world music will travel with ease.
Opening with ‘Woven’, the EP reaches out of the speakers in a stunning melancholic daze. Burnside’s eloquent arrangements of dissonant fiddles, subtle banjos and a lurking pipe drone colour the body of work. Both raw and dreamy, the textured buzz of the track foreshadows the instrumental complexities and experimental production that fuels the EP’s sound.
In the title track ‘Late Afternoon In The Meadow’, Burnside lyrically sinks into a reflection about life without opportunity. Illustrating a story about deteriorating mental health amidst economic strife in Belfast, he creates a montage of the Westlink, Cliftonville FC, rivers of concrete, and Black Mountain. This reaches the ultimate epiphany upon the realisation that “my life’s just something that’s been happening to me”.
Burnside explains how “I wrote this one after returning from the south of France. I’m normally glad to be home, but it was a particularly grey and blustery day. On days like this, the city can feel like a very bleak place, and so I wrote a very bleak song. But there is hope in it too, hope for a kinder society, a life that is softer on the soul. Belfast seldom resembles a French impressionist painting, but it is my home and it has its own beauty.” The track’s title is a direct reference to the painting by Camille Pissarro.
The more upbeat ‘Louis Mercier’ is a tale of war and false victories through the eyes of the protagonist, highlighted with accordions and banjos. However, ‘Rough Edges’ documents a relationship in crisis in an Elliot Smith-influenced crescendo. Burnside reflects on how “It is a straightforward sort of song, about a relationship in turmoil, and of the transient nature of love without trust and compromise.” The EP comes to a close with the soothing layered fiddles of ‘Where White Lilies Bloom’.
Joshua Burnside is set to release his third album later this year. If the ‘Late Afternoon In The Meadow (1887)’ EP is anything to go by, the bar is high.