Proud Ember is a new kid on the block in the Birmingham scene, and is making waves after recently supporting Hotel Books on their Birmingham show at the end of January. After releasing a split with Miltone Keynes based Crater Face in the latter half of this year many have been looking forward to Proud Ember’s next release. Proud Ember is made up of Alex Hyland, a young lad who is truly showing his potential not only through live shows but also through his recordings. With out further ado let’s break down his debut EP I Died In My Bedroom.
if i was a bird id fly in to the ceiling fan part 1 starts this EP, and not only does it set the tone for this debut by Proud Ember but it also gives a clear insight in to the amount of brutal honesty Alex Hyland is clearly going to present to on this very heartfelt EP. With the tracks simplistic yet powerful instrumentation it allows Alex’s vocals, all be them stronger in shouts, to carry the song and truly hone in on the message the track is wishing to portray. Overall this opener does what it needs to do, for those who know of Proud Ember and for those who don’t, it is a strong opener that truly shows the potential this EP has with everything else that lays on it’s track listing.
This is followed by a re-recording of milhouse, although being the weakest track is by no means a bad thing. milhouse can be found on the split with Crater Face, however with subtle changes and additions this track becomes something else on this EP. One thing is evident through this track, and that is the fact that Proud Ember is far more open with his instrumentation than simply just focusing on chords like a lot of solo musicians do. However, when the track does boil back down to the chords in which he shouts so powerfully on top of, there is this clear sense that all together these separate parts work cohesively. It is at this moment the track does something new that wasn’t evident on that split, and that is the brief moment of spoken word which is truly a nice addition to the track before it closes down with more powerful and heart wrenching lyrics. Which are soon accompanied by the samples of Milhouse from The Simpsons that help drive this track home.
Coming through next on I Died In My Bedroom is [smoke] which is the strongest track on this entire EP. [smoke] starts with this brutally honest spoken word opening which talks about being not good enough among other honest wordings. It is in this moment that we not only witness some brutal realizations which are very reminiscent with Hotel Books, but also the way in which Alex orchestrates his lyrics and instrumentation to create a track full of meaning and powerful delivery. After this spoken word the track quickly jumps back in to these shouts which leave a lasting and haunting impression whether it is live or on recording and help solidify this track as the strongest on the EP.
Following on from this is I Died, which acts as the title track to this EP and is truly haunting not only in terms of the instrumentation which is very simplistic but works for all the right reasons alongside the very well-constructed vocal parts and lyricism which doesn’t only paint a vivid image in the head but also leave a lasting impression well after the song has finished. However one thing does in a sense let the track down, and that is Alex’s cleans which aren’t always the strongest. But with it being his first EP, these clean vocals will be something that will improve with time and will match the rawness and honesty in his shouts.
Ending this is EP is if i was a bird id fly in the ceiling fan part 2 which not only ties the EP together as a whole but also closes it in a great way. With yet more of this well crafted shout and clean mix Proud Ember perfectly ties together this EP with part 2. Overall instrumentally it is as interesting as the opener with this simple riff that is now repeated but in a calmer sense up until Proud Ember starts to close off this track when his shouts become more raw and truly leave goosebumps as this track plays out.
Overall this five track EP shows a lot of promise for Coventry born Proud Ember through not only the power and emotion that are evident through the tracks but also through the simplistic yet impactful lyricism which is accompanied by this well orchestrated riffs and chords which help the tracks move along at the steady pace. However Proud Ember does have room to grow, both vocally and instrumentally, but with him only being 19 this debut EP is the perfect start of that growth. [7.5/10]