On his latest EP, ‘To Anywhere’ Zak Whitefield does little to distinguish himself from the scores of singer songwriters currently on the scene with the Tyrone native succumbing to the usual failings of the genre. And yet while the negatives of this EP are inescapably poor, there are still small glimpses of promise to suggest that Whitefield might yet go onto better things.
Before the good and the bad comes the average with album opener Diamond in The Sunshine doing little to capture the imagination. There are some nice flourishes here and there, the deft guitar playing is certainly admirable, but the song feels too delicate and lightweight. The lovelorn lyrics only add to the drippy feel and almost reach James Blunt levels of mawkishness.
Next up is Hola Lola, which despite having one of the worst song titles in history, is a big improvement. The Latin flavour the song carries gives it a level of distinction which is absent on the opener. Whitefield’s voice sounds stronger and fuller too, giving the song a dark, brooding feel.
He jettisons the Latin flavour in favour of a more country-tinged sound on Sleepless Dusk. It really doesn’t work. Lacking in originality and devoid of imagination, this song is the weakest on the EP. The lyrics don’t help either; if the opener felt overly sentimental then this number piles it on tenfold with Whitefield trotting out every cliché under the sun.
Things pick up again on Shoot for The Prize, another number with a Tex Mex style vibe to it. How a singer songwriter from Tyrone ended up playing Latin fused folk music is anyone’s guess but it works surprising well. It certainly benefits this song; full of passion and rhythm it’s the most upbeat track on the album and although shamelessly sappy, it can’t help but bring a smile to your face.
Standing head and shoulders above anything else on the EP is closing track Companion. A solemn, acoustic number, this is astonishingly good stuff. The hushed vocals and sparse arrangement give the song an ethereal vibe with the wistful lyrics adding to the atmospheric feel. It all makes for an unexpectedly excellent finale to an otherwise forgettable album.