EP Review: Gabriel Richards – Firing Line

Firing Line is the debut three track EP from Stoke-on-Trent-based alternative singer songwriter Gabriel Richards, released via Humans & Other Animals.

By Graeme Smith

The EP opens with his debut single Don’t You Go, a track full of texture, atmosphere and emotion. While the instrumentals rise and fall, Gabriel’s angelic vocals provide a constant. He really has a voice you can get lost in and the emotion he conveys feel authentic. His sound, rich and expansive like Bon Iver, has a soft rock edge to it as well. Don’t You Go acts as a great welcome, both to his sound and to this EP.

Track two Gave Up Light takes things is a rockier direction. A steady drumbeat mingles with strings, bass and electric guitar. Gabriel’s vocals, though still clear and smooth, take on a gruffer edge, particularly in a swelling, chanting chorus. As things progress, the instrumentals build to a climactic finish.

Thematically, the EP is pulled together by feeling of regret and missed opportunity. This is at its most evident in the EPs final track Firing Line, a song about missing a chance to say something because you can’t find the right words. The track starts intimately acoustic, with lush harmonies. After the first chorus, the music introduces key and electronic effects but stays downbeat. It’s a real tearjerker.

Firing Line EP is a wonderful taste of what’s to come from a self-made artist who has poured a lot into his craft. As well as writing music, Gabriel is a graphic designer who creates his own album artwork. Not resting on his laurels, he’s planning another EP for the Autumn and I can’t wait to hear it. For now, I hope you’ll give Firing Line a spin below. Not only do I think you’ll appreciate the artistry, but it may well touch you somewhere deep inside your soul.