Waves sets the tone for the EP with its slow and relaxed musicianship. The track opens with gentle shore-sounds lapping the coast before a full band; lead by a trumpet gets things moving. Cleary’s voice is introduced and immediately adds a beautiful comfort to the music. Mid-way through the song is where it begins to fall short though. The lack of distinct melody and the duration it takes to climax ensures that the listener has already tuned out. When Waves does eventually breach the banks, the song makes more sense. A shame it doesn’t come sooner.
Twenty Per Cent opens with a creative backward guitar and a calming, atmospheric sound. It is already a much more fluid and emotional track than Waves. Written following the death of a close friend of Cleary’s, there is a real rawness and honesty to the song as a whole. Cleary howls “you had a twenty per cent chance of life, you had ten years in two”, touching lyrics which have the ability to reach people of all backgrounds. Twenty Per Cent is a song worthy of praise.
It’s never kind to compare musicians, but My Friend feels like a jam rehearsal between Glen Hansard, Fleet Foxes and Paolo Nutini. The trumpet again designs the main hook, however this time it sounds truly at home and with bags of energy, the song is most definitely built for a live audience.
Ending in a slightly lighter mood, Waiting For The Morning is a welcome respite after the somberness of previous tracks. The quirky guitar, and lyrics like “odd socks and holes in his runners” achieve originality, but again a song fails to build up in vibrancy when most natural feeling. After it finally does pick up, the beautiful voice of a child is discovered, leaving the listener asking why this hadn’t featured on the earlier songs.
Cleary certainly has a distinct sound; one of the more difficult things for musicians to discover, let alone master. While ‘Goodbye to Yeahman’ leaves us a little short, there are real signs of greater things to come.