Personal, seasonal, sensitive and subtle ruminations from this North Yorkshire troubadour.
Release Date: 6th October 2022
Formats: CD & Streaming
Anyone who subscribes to the Billie Joe Armstrong ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ philosophy will have resurfaced recently to eye-watering energy costs and the Benny Hill theme tune blasting non-stop outside the Selfservative Party conference. More positively, they’ve also awoken to appreciate the splendid new EP by Northallerton’s George Boomsma. And if this is not the sound of autumn – especially the sound of this autumn – then you’d be hard-pressed to say what is.
In four tracks, you’ve got rain, children running wild, wine, degradation, desperation, desolation, and two tea lights shining against the darkness. Written and recorded long before the darkening, apocalyptic winter of Kamikwasi and Catrusstrophe, this EP is the sound of bedding down and digging in to walk through personal and introspective storms with, perhaps, some sense of one’s head held high. There are definitely moments where you want to press pause, phone Boomsma up and ask, “Are you alright, mate?”
But he is alright. More or less. You can tell that. Despite the fine drizzle of melancholy that slow-drenches the songs, it’s precisely the vicissitudes of life that can provide a bedrock from which to propel yourself back upwards. Soaking Southern Town pays tribute to a lover who “loves the lack of local sun.” Rather than staring out at precipitation and having a face like a wet weekend, “she sees the patterned window pane.”
Is this mind over matter? Resilience? It seems more like finding the beauty in the apparent descent of the year and underwhelming English weather. There is yearning in Soaking Southern Town, amplified by fragile optimism in Boomsma’s vocal and strings that resonate with the same pathos as the most emotive Beatles ballads. Ultimately, you can’t be sure whether she’s present or absent: “You are all I can see” sounds as much like the mind’s eye as actual sight.
Wholly Wine definitely feels like one of those moments when there’s no-one else in the house, you can see your own breath in the air (as you can hear Boomsma’s breath in the vocal) and all you have for company are your thoughts and a couple of bottles of Blue Nun. In those situations, you tend not to have a guitar and Boomsma’s ominous and dextrous finger-picking to make sense of your tangled mind. This is one moment when facing up to the “degradation,” “desperation” and “desolation” feels like the only option. With wine.
Similarly ambiguous, track two – the piano ballad, Children – could as easily be a song of quiet concession or quiet frustration. Can love be preserved in a unit of two, or does it need to be gilded by the creation of miniature humans? “Funny how love sometimes isn’t enough to be happy,” sings Boomsma. If you were shown a video of someone like Billy Joel singing this at a piano, in a bar, in the wee small hours, in the late 70s or early 80s, you’d believe it. The theme and the song both feel timeless.
How High The Mountain concludes the EP and sits somewhere between a traditional folk lament and the antithesis of the hymn, Morning Has Broken. High mountains afford beautiful vistas, even in the darkness of night (the “perfect moment” that two lovers share in this song). Mountain tops are also bloody freezing. Boomsma leaves us with two bodies in the faint glow of tea lights huddling close together against the cold. You really can’t get more autumn 2022 than that.
Here’s a taste of George Boomsma with the gorgeous Run On:
Categories: EP Review