[18 June 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Wharfer is the nom de plume of Brooklyn-by-way-of-Scranton singer-songwriter Kyle Wall, and the Eyelids EP is his proper follow-up to last year’s The Rattling album. This EP, it turns out, was recorded and mixed on Wall’s phone amid some surgeries that the author was undergoing. What’s notable of the EP is just how much Wall sounds a lot like Sebadoh’s Lou Barlow. Close your eyes and you might mistake Wall for Barlow. On his five-song EP, Wall mines a steady kind of folk rock with acoustic guitar and the odd touch of piano here and there. However, the lingering problem with the EP is that all five songs are virtually interchangeable in their own low-key way, and there’s not much that sticks with the listener after multiple listening. To that end, the Eyelids EP is pleasant enough, but not pleasant enough. More variation to the sound would do the artist a world of favours.
“Hawley” opens the album with a nice acoustic strum, but that’s about the nicest thing you can say about the song: it’s nice, but it doesn’t really stick with the listener. A piano lilts in, but, overall, the effect is one of just washing over the listener without much in the way of offering. The title track just continues in that same vein: it’s good, with its creaking organ and lightly plucked piano and strummy acoustic guitar, but, again, it doesn’t really make its mark aside from its chorus that “It’s a fine day to lose your mind.” “Tea Leaves”, meanwhile, is almost an exact replica of what just preceded it. And “Ghosting” is just more of the same. By the time you reach final track “I’ll Earn My Collapse”, you’ll be left lagged and worn by just how same-y this short album sounds. Ultimately, the Eyelids EP could do with more flavouring in bolstering its songs: you really wish there might be a song or two that’s more upbeat. That all said and done, the Eyelids EP isn’t a total washout: there’s plenty of nice stuff to be found on it, but that’s about the only effect that it leaves. A pleasing affair, and not much else.