The Irish musical duo Embarcadero surely didn’t think their decision to form in late 2019 would face the unprecedented struggle of a world pandemic. Their game plan was to gig and get their foundations set before recording. That plan went out the window with Covid, but another opportunity emerged.
With the assistance of Help Musicians, the duo would head into a virtual recording studio and record their first eponymous EP. The 5 track offering will release on September 3rd and is available exclusively in digital format through the renowned young band incubator Bandcamp.
Embarcadero’s duo is comprised of Sonja Sleator and Daniel Lynch, who worked remotely to produce the five tracks with several guest producers and musicians. The likes of Michael Mormecha, Nigel Powell (Sad Song Co., Frank Turner), Alex Loring (Rews, Fangclub), Sarah Branigan (Jaxson), Calvin Wells and Joe Capel (Small Pond Records) assisted the pair with the tracks. The outcome is an engaging sampler of what the duo has to offer.
The EP begins with “Teleflop”, which introduces the listener to Sleator’s alluring vocals. The song’s solid guitar work and structure are reminiscent of REM and Sleater Kinney in their high cotton days. The vibe is quirky energy, making for a fantastic opening track. “Chasing You Around” is a midtempo breakup song that takes the energy down a notch and gets more serious. The narrator of the track is fed up with chasing around a player. Beautifully captured on the track is a Catch 22 where obsession meets disappointment as the protagonist discovers she is “better off hiding in bed, where I can be seen to fooling around”.
“Unravel”, in many ways, is an apt reflection of our new Covid reality. The dramatic opening shifts into a surreal swirling accompaniment with excellent alternative guitar work. Exposed is the pain of watching relationships and mental health achingly unravel in real-time as we are damned to the sidelines, powerless to do anything. For my money, this is the strongest track on the release. “Down” continues this heavy vibe offering another dramatic offering. The final track “Left to Prove”, is the crescendo to the release. It’s Red Hot Chili Peppers bass drives the song. Again the subject is an inauthentic lover best described as “you lie with your eyes closed”. Classical, alternative rock licks build the drama on the sign off track.
Embarcadero’s first EP is a definite grower and displays significant potential, exactly what every EP should do for a band. The production values are impressive, with kudos to the production team for a job well done. Overall the effort delivers satisfying contrasts between Sleator’s ethereal, beautiful vocals, heartbreaking but wise lyrics and serious alternative rock sonics. It will be interesting to see where they go next with their musical creation.