London-based songwriter Dear Pariah‘s (Charlie Hinchcliff) latest EP, Live at Thais, is a salve on frayed nerves, with its soothing presence and expansive soundscape. From the outset, Hinchcliff sets hearts aflutter with her crystal clear vocal delivery and poignant lyricism. The EP is hazy and hypnotic, yet hyper-focused on building a strong sonic base through minimalist instrumentation.
The five-track offering opens with ‘Felt Some Love’, a slow-burning rock-tinged tune, anchored by an electric guitar and Hinchcliff’s heartfelt vocals. Following track ‘Bench’ goes in the opposite direction, going for an acoustic instrumental that highlights Hinchcliff’s impressive vocal range. With poetic lyrics and a soothing sonic arrangement, this is a personal favourite and a very early highlight.
The gospel-touched delivery of ‘Not Ready’ shows Hinchcliff’s musical versatility, surrounding listeners in the warmth of heavenly vocals, and melodies that beg for more than one listen. Next comes ‘Tired’, a hauntingly beautiful tune which plays with folksy instrumentation. The track is another stand-out, with its vulnerable, melancholic setting blanketing the mood of the EP. It’s a sombre yet comforting listen.
Closing track ‘Leave Me Be’ is a quiet piece of brilliance that shines for its understated arrangement and delivery. Led by acoustic guitar and elevated by a voice that feels meditative and powerful all at once, the track brings Live at Thais to a perfect ending. Dear Pariah is an artist everyone needs to listen to at least once, and if you’re going to pick any place to start, Live at Thais is certainly the best.