Break shows Rob Bywater weave his brand of poetic folk-rock with the aplomb of a young Billy Bragg.
To say the past 5 years has been filled with an abundance of hopeful acoustic acts would be an understatement, incalculable scores of solitary standing musicians who look and sound like the past seven hundred before them, making the slightest bit of noise before disappearing into the woodwork again without leaving any kind of mark or impression on countless open mic audiences. That’s why it is such a refreshing change of pace to hear an E.P like Rob Bywater’s Break. Whilst yes, it is another slice of acoustic, one man-one guitar, serenades Bywater has combined melodious guitar with broken, heavy accented vocals to deliver a sound with a stripped down honesty, telling tales of money struggles and bar room evenings.
Within the first twenty seconds of the E.P the listener is instantly drenched in the melody of title song Break, which plays out like a new anthem for an England struggling to make ends meet. Though I wouldn’t say this is a wholly political record, there are little call outs for what must be issues important to this songwriter, Bywater manages to deliver these without becoming preachy in any sense. The song features a strong prominent chord progression that lasts throughout, with the addition of backing vocals by one Miriam Hennesey-Mann adding a mellifluous tonality which brings a sweetness to the rugged timbre coming from the lips of Bywater.
The second slice, Man At The Bar, echoes similarities of the early days of Frank Turner, with a simple set of chords as the backing for a story which would fit perfectly in the pages of any Charles Bukowski novel. A beat up barfly facing his own mortality, with little to no hope for the future, attempts to bring the protagonist of the song to his level of pessimism. Bywater cleverly switches around the mood of the track in the second verse with the lines, ‘With a song on my lips and at my fingertips, I know that I never can lose,’ making this the perfect mantra for any struggling artist who might be considering throwing in the towel.
Pints Of Beer And Guitar Strings follows a similar suit as the previous giving another hard hitting sing along song with the potential to lift the spirits of any listener who has poured heart and soul into their art with little financial success. Rob Bywater is telling the listener that money is not the be all and end all of happiness with the vocal hook, ‘You cannot buy what I’ve got.’
The E.P winds down with Won’t Be Home For Quite A While, a song which could be considered Bywater’s “tearjerker,” though there is no mention of love and romance. The melodies and arpeggiated guitar track give it a heart wrenching quality reminiscent of The Commotions singer, Llyod Cole’s, solo project.
Break shows Rob Bywater weave his brand of poetic folk-rock with the aplomb of a young Billy Bragg. If this, his third official release, is anything to go by then I’m sure Rob Bywater will continue to climb and rock, pushing through the mediocrity and placing himself toe to toe with the great U.K acoustic acts. Johnny Flynn, Emmy the Great and the afore mentioned Frank Turner to name a few.
You can buy Rob Bywater’s latest E.P Break plus his previous efforts at his website here
You can also “like” Rob Bywater on facebook, keeping you up to date with gigs and other information regarding the songwriter