Campaigning for free music on the streets of London, Nick Howe has created a name for himself with his wonderful spirit and stage presence. With a world tour under his belt, and many shows yet to come, the London based artist screams potential. It seems that Howe is laying all his emotions on the table with his debut EP ‘The Struggle is Real’, which is a wonderful thing to hear.
More often than not, music has some kind of hidden meaning to be discovered. However, the message in the eponymous EP opener is about as subtle as a nun in a brothel. Many aspiring musicians can relate to the struggles of the industry, but this upbeat, pop track makes light of what actually can be a frustrating situation. However, a simple guitar line makes way for heartfelt lyrics and it feels like it’s missing that spark to make it legendary. It remains a pleasant listen nonetheless.
The following tracks teeter on the pop rock end of the spectrum as ‘Riches in Heaven’ follows, but leaves the listener a little uninspired. Similarly as its predecessor, it feels like lyrics have taken priority and the music remains rather repetitive. It feels like the class you hate most in school, a long hard slog to get to the end.
The latter half of this EP however feels wholly more accomplished and well rounded, in particular ‘Caught up with You’. With humble beginnings as an acoustic track, Howe’s voice truly shines as the riffs begin to build. It’s amazing what you can achieve in under three minutes, and with this Howe has created a beautifully understated song. A groovy attitude fuels closing track ‘At the Beginning’, but a muddled and confusing bridge of noise midway through the track lets it down somewhat. This can be forgiven as this track possesses more good, oozing funk qualities than bad.
‘The Struggle is Real’ is a promising record with nuggets of pure musical talent and it cannot be denied that Howe has a fantastic voice. His debut EP may not propel him into stardom, but this doesn’t feel like the purpose of this record. It comes from the heart, and for that you cannot fault it.
‘The Struggle is Real’ will be released on November 1st and can be pre-ordered on iTunes.