Through the tracks of his debut EP Loss & Love, Jem Bosatta looks to capture the raw emotion and intimacy that can only be found at live, unplugged folk concerts. Across the tracks, he tells different stories that touch on male friendship, adolescence, extreme despair, self-pity, and the chilling tale of a mass murderer. While these tracks might seem extremely diverse in their topic, they carry a gut-wrenching emotional honesty that ties them all together.
To bring the power of live folk music to the EP, Bosatta recorded the tracks over 2 days, with an audience. This adds light touches to the tracks that create the atmosphere of a live folk concert while allowing the power of the music to shine. With a stripped-back musical style, Bosatta draws on rustic roots and the best elements of folk legends.
The EP opens with a touch of self-pity and bone-deep despair in ‘Cases’. The mournful strings fill the melody with sadness and melancholy that sinks its chilled fingers into your skin. The acoustic guitar adds a bone-deep despair to the mournful tones of the strings. Bostatta’s vocals reach into your chest and squeeze your heart from the first word. While the lyrics have a sad story, there is also a touch of self-pity to the vocals. It is a really gentle, yet heart-wrenching, opening track that fills you with the subtle beauty of folk music and the pure emotions Bosatta is able to inject into his performance.
‘Weeds’ has a lighter folk feeling to the acoustic guitar opening. There is a light sunny vibe to the music that makes you think of cool spring days that carry the potential of greatness. The stripped-back vocals allow the chilling story of the track to really shine and send shivers down your arms. The lightness of the acoustic guitar is a little at odds with the tragic tale of the lyrics that paint a picture of weeds on an unmarked grave. The backing vocals add an interesting touch to the song as Bosatta’s vocals gain power to rise the waves they create. It is a really captivating song that you can’t stop listening to, whether it is the smooth movement of the music or the story of the lyrics.
Bosatta brings a hint of nostalgia to the EP with ‘Memories’. The acoustic guitar plucks through the melody before the harmonica calls out over an open fire and talks of days long gone. While there is a campfire feeling to the music at times, the lyrics tell the story of a first infatuation. Through the lyrics and his performance, Bosatta drops you back in time and fills you with the tender emotions of young love felt for the first time. There is something bittersweet about this track that makes you smile, but there is also a tinge of sadness woven into each moment. There is something so touching about this track, whether it is the relatability of the emotions or the beautiful emotions that are infused into each word.
‘Father’ is the first of two tracks that look at male friendships and hits in a different way from the young infatuation of the last track. The lighter touch to the music comes back for this song as the initial guitar line puts a little smile on your face. The lyrics dip into the stories that parents and grandparents tell that take us to a different time or through experiences we have never personally gone through. There is a comforting touch to the track that reminds you of all the times older people in your family have helped you in tough times. This is tempered by the knowledge that sometimes the shadows these larger than life figures in our lives leave can be hard to overcome, but they never overshadow the happy memories you have with them.
The second track looking at male friendships is ‘Brother’, which was written for Bosatta’s own brother. While there is a very personal touch to this track, there is a universality that anyone with a sibling will understand. As the last track painted a picture of the stories older family members tell, this track considers the impact of silence in familiar friendships. While silence is often taken as something bad, this track takes a different approach and considers the wealth of thoughts that can be conveyed with silence. It is a wonderful new take on the way being around someone close to you can communicate a thousand words.
‘Killer’ takes us on a different path as it tells the chilling tale of a mass murderer. There is a dark feeling to the music from the first moment, that builds into a lighter touch. The music brings the feeling of early morning light reaching out over the horizon to your ears. Bosatta’s vocals draw you into the story of the killer who could be anyone we all grew up with. The tale woven into the lyrics is rather chilling, but it is the melody that makes it more powerful. The guitar adds an emphasis to certain points, while the swelling undertones bring the light touch of dread to your stomach. At times, there is a really light tone to the music which is at odds with the story of the track.
The strummed opening of ‘Football in the Field’ has warm sunlight soaking into your skin. As you listen to the music, you feel a gentle breeze cross your soul and a lifting of pressure. This is seriously at odds with the emotions of the lyrics which delve into isolation and loneliness. Bosatta brings feelings and experiences of being an outsider while others have a good time. While there is this balance between loneliness and warmth, he has perfectly captured a sense of detachment and otherness that many people feel. It is a sad track that has you yearning for companionship while feeling the bite of isolation.
The EP comes to a close with ‘The Fountain’ and its steady forward movement through the melody. You are led down a path by the strum of the guitar. There is a rather happy vibe to this track which has you leaving the EP with a lighter energy resting in your chest. The strings and drums build later in the track to put a smile on your face, while Bosatta’s vocals fill your chest with good vibes. Each instrument adds to the richness of the melody that becomes lusher and softer as the track continues. The backing vocals enhance his performance and send your senses dancing on good vibes, before a cold burst of reality comes through later in the track.
Jem Bosatta brings a balance of vulnerability, soft charm, warm instrumentation and delicate folk to our ears through the tales of Loss & Love. Through the EP, he draws us into relatable tracks that bring isolation and companionship. Each track has a unique flow that really showcases the prowess of Bosatta’s musicality.