EP Review: Henry Dukes – VoiceMail

VoiceMail is the debut EP from Wiltshire-based singer songwriter Henry Dukes and it’s all about love.

“Remember falling in love for the first time?” is the question Henry poses with this EP. Over five tracks, he attempts to recreate the feeling though storytelling verses and big, instrumental arrangements. It all starts with Eight O’Clock which explores how love can get you through the worst of times. The worst of times of course being a monotonous nine-to-five. It fuses together folk and RnB elements in a way I’ve never heard before.

Slow Down is more of a traditional love song, a direct appeal to a lover to block out the world together. Looping acoustic guitar join percussion and horns to create a chillout area and the lyrics are almost chantlike.

Do the Same is a pop heartbreak ballad akin to the output of popular singer songwriters like Lewis Capaldi and Adele. It’s enriched with classical strings and Henry’s vocals have a compelling sense of authenticity. Aligned to the EP’s title, there is a theme of missed connections running through VoiceMail and it’s at its most crystallised in Do The Same.

The heartbreak carries through to the stripped-back acoustic opening of If I Die Tomorrow. Emotionally, it’s the EP’s low point but there is great power in its “less-is-more” approach to music. That being said, its slow build into electronic elements is also welcome and it’s got a hell of a climax.

The EP closes, appropriately, with the delicate Goodbye. It reflects how often your first love doesn’t last forever and I really believe Henry when he declares “I don’t want to say goodbye” in the track’s surging chorus. Still, love ending creates the opportunity for new love to begin and I like to think that’ reflected in the EPs hopeful final chord.

Henry is only seventeen years old but his sound is so mature and accomplished I can predict good things coming from him. He’s certainly a hidden gem in the British pop scene and hopefully this EP will act as a launch pad for greater things. In the meantime, I think we can all enjoy the emotional world created by VoiceMail. You can check it out below.