Through the five tracks of his EP Runaway, Scalawag moves through various expressions of love and anxiety. A genre-defying EP, each track draws on a different influence to fill the soundscape with rockabilly, indie pop, RnB and classic 60s pop. As he traverses musical genres, the varied influences weave a complex tapestry of emotion. Through this tapestry, Scalawag takes listeners on a journey of love, loss and reconnections.
The creation of the EP started at the height of lockdown last year and was a way for Scalawag to release the crushing weight he felt. This has brought a personal feeling to the music which is enhanced by him creating every sound on the EP himself. Recorded in his home studio, it is a labour of love and hard work that has you eagerly diving into his back catalogue while longing for new releases.
The EP opens the story of the EP with ‘Run Away’. The soft fusion of pop and RnB creates a rich yet melancholic soundscape. The horns and beats soothe your soul while the vocals are a thick cloud of bliss. The melancholy of the opening rests in the low levels of the track as the rest of the single offers a sense of escapism. The lyrics have you leaving everything behind to get away from the daily grind. While this is uplifting, there is the knowledge that you are leaving loved ones behind as well. The wandering spirit of the track relaxes you while plucking at a need to escape.
‘Sleep Alone’ draws you into a morning musing through the acoustic guitar opening. The vocals have a whispered feeling that highlights the loneliness of the lyrics. The horns bolster this emotion with a mournful call as they reach out for someone you love. There is a heavy tug on the soul through this track that picks up the melancholy of the opening track and gives it direction. Through the vocal performance, you can feel the soul-deep ache of someone you love not being a part of your world anymore. This is a very sad song that fills you with sadness, loneliness and the yawning of time spent alone.
The EP takes a classic 60s love song turn for ‘You On My Mind’ with a delicate interplay between the guitar and piano. The lightness of the melody has an almost whimsical feeling as it dances around you and makes you smile. Through the lyrics, you feel the soft bliss of falling in love. Scalawag’s gentle vocals soak happy energy into your veins and lift you up after the sadness of the last track. The whistling refrain has you thinking of warm days spent with someone you love. By the end of the song, you feel loose-limbed and full of positive emotions with the glowing embers of affection taking hold in your chest.
‘For the Others’ is a short track that brings a floating feeling of nebulous moments to your ears. The haziness of the vocals makes them feel like they are coming from far away. The guitar that gently plucks against the vocals bolsters the floating sensations through the softness. This is a wonderful break in the story of the EP that brings a strange tenderness to the proceedings.
The story of the EP comes to a close with the rockabilly tones of ‘Touch’. From the first guitar note, you are hooked to the sound and the melody just sinks its claws further in. With a toe-tapping beat, you want to clap to the rhythm while bopping your head. The lively vibe of the melody is great after the softness of the last track. It is a body moving flow that you want to turn up and get down to. While moving to the lively sound, the vocals bring a realisation that many of us need. The lyrics acknowledge the struggle many face with self-identity before taking you to the realisation that you will always question and overthink. This is a really great way to bring the EP to an end as it leaves everything on a realistic high note.
Scalawag really showcases his abilities through the genre-defying sounds of Runaway. Not only does he hit all the right notes within the different styles, but he also highlights his amazing ability to take you through a story over the five tracks of the EP. From bone-deep sadness to floating happiness and body moving rockabilly realisations, he has you hooked to his varying sounds and scrambling to add each track to your favourite playlists.