EP Review: Ned Stranger – Enter The Hero

Ned Stranger is an alternative folk singer songwriter based in Brighton. His new EP tackles existentialism and how it has been explored in literature. It’s called Enter The Hero. Here’s my track by track review.

By Graeme Smith

Feature Photo by Anya Vero

The literary inspiration of Enter The Hero feels apt given its otherworldly feel. This is a place that is like our planet, but not quite. We are introduced to it through gentle, looping flamenco guitar and Ned’s soft, soothing vocals in track Setting Sun. There is power in its minimalism. The silence is as absorbing as the music. After an extended intro, the track explodes into life with percussion and piano. You can tell straight away that you’re in for something special.

The title track comes next, named for a chapter in Russian author Bulgakov’s The Master And Margarita. It sends things in a surprising change of direction, introducing funk and soul elements to Ned’s sound. Lyrically, it explores to idea of wanting to change the world, and the follies that come with that concept. It feels very apt given the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Track three is Call To Prayer, a light and textured piece that attempts to regain some composure against a backdrop of political upheaval (apt again). Ned brings the concept to life through the imagery in his lyrics and its melody is a memorable one.

The EP is rounded of by Blind As The Rain, a play on the Russian idiom ‘blind rain’ that describes light rainfall in the sun. It’s about climate change, and feelings of anger and helplessness that comes from inaction to address it. It’s a moody waltz, something of a counterpart to the airiness of Call To Prayer. The lyrics are just as image-laden and the experimental echoing strings during its instrumental interludes are mesmerising.

Despite being less than twenty minutes long, there’s so much depth in Enter The Hero it feels like a full-length album. The amount of thought and effort that has gone into its composition is abundant in every bar. I’m incredibly excited by the prospect of hearing more from Ned, and this is an EP to which I will certainly be returning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You can check it out below.