Feeling insecure is something we have all felt on a personal level but it is also something that is undeniably universal. Focusing on these feelings, Oliver Say takes listeners on a journey of resolving these feelings in his EP Lest It Feel Sore. The linear journey of the EP has you diving into insecurity, starting to resolve these feelings and setting out on the path to a brighter future.
While Say could have started his solo career with a record deal, he passed to take a place at Falmouth University where he honed his skills through study and as part of a 7-piece post-rock band. Since graduating, he has worked as a climbing instructor while writing and refining his sound which led to his debut ‘Am I Always So Wrong’.
The EP opens with ‘’Neath (Intro)’ which slowly builds into your ears with a delicate sound. The ambient movement of the opening is like tendrils of mist in the early morning beckoning you further into the fog. Somewhat ominously, the vibrating deep bassline thrums under the ambient tones before the vocals send shivers through you. The high tone of the vocals completely the siren’s call of the track with an otherworldly beauty. The harmonisations and layers of the vocals and light instrumentation are amazing and so captivating. As you listen, you are thoroughly hooked into both Say’s sound and the EP as a whole.
‘Cherishing’ has a much groovier feeling that comes through the steady pluck and shake of the opening. Say is joined by Tony Njoku on this track and they combine their styles into a really catchy movement. The melody has your shoulders bouncing to them while your body sways to the infectious beats. Weaving between the notes is the vocals that dance around your brain before humming into seductive flows. Through all of this, the lyrics are packed with a poetic sense of insecurity and how this causes us to give in to pressure. The melody gets a somewhat frenetic energy as the track progresses that gets the heart rate up and fills you with the urge to move.
The title track ‘Lest It Feel Sore’ drops you into a gentle brook of sound after the pace of the last track. There is a reflective and contemplative vibe to this track that really comes through in the melody. Say’s vocals are sublime through the song as he creates a rich soundscape of thoughts that flow and jitter. You are covered in the waves of his vocals and the backing harmonisations as they seem to soothe some of the jiggered parts of your soul. This soothing is tempered by the intrusion of negative thoughts and the flair of insecurities. These flairs are brought to sonic glory with the more rock tones that rise and pulse against you. It is a richly textured track that you can easily get lost in and will want to listen to a few times just to feel the majesty of it all.
‘This Morning I Wake (Interlude)’ is a short acoustic track that consists only of vocals. The lack of instrumentation allows the power of the vocals to really shine. The harmonisations add poignancy to the vocals as they tug at your heartstrings. After the richness of the last, this is a delightful reprieve while pushing the journey of the EP. Through this song, you are gently led to the path of brighter things as the sun glints over the horizon.
The EP comes to a close with ‘In July (Outro)’ which draws you in with the call of vocals against a lush piano line. The vocals and piano combine to send shivers through you and create a slightly gospel feeling. You feel like you should be holding your breath as you listen so you don’t break the spell that the song creates. The softness of the track is almost decadent as it embraces you and has you falling into a cloud of delicate vibes. This is the perfect way to close the EP as it sets you on your way with a peaceful softness that settles your soul and lets you know what you can take on the world.
Oliver Say uses five captivating tracks to take you on a journey that has you dancing and feeling at peace in Lest It Feel Sore. Each track is powerful on its own, but when they combine for the full EP they really blow you away. Not only do they showcase Say’s musical abilities, but they also capture something deep in your soul, expose it to the light and soothe the rough edges to leave you feeling calm and at peace.