Check out the video premiere of the first single release from StevieRay Latham’s forthcoming ‘Hinterland EP’, which is due for release on 29th July 2022. This is a song of loss and what it means to accept a void left in your life by the absence of someone you love. There’s a weary, aching sadness in Latham’s voice when he sings of drinking to old friends and he delivers emotionally resonant lines like: “Cigarette on your lips, body broken // I’ll miss your smile at the Christmas table.” His directness and vulnerability are disarming. The impact is all the more powerful thanks to the nostalgic family home-footage used to good effect in the accompanying video. Gently, the song builds with musical layers: a warm strum, swelling synths and subtle percussion combine to create emotional momentum. Then, suddenly, towards the end of the song, all those layers fall away and we’re left with what sounds like a stark, bleak-sounding demo of the song that is particularly effective used in this way.
Latham’s music blends a range of influences from folk to blues, garage rock to ambient sounds but, on the new EP, Latham has made a return to the low-fi, stripped back alt-folk of his earlier work. This approach was a necessity during the pandemic. When live shows weren’t possible, he ended up moving back in with his parents and working in construction, while recording acoustic demos at the weekends. Then, he caught the virus and used the ten days of isolation productively. Armed with just a laptop and a couple of microphones and speakers in his bedroom, Latham put together the whole ‘Hinterland EP’. Given the limited tools at his disposal, this is a truly remarkable feat. Such is Latham’s artistry, he used the situation to his advantage to create a haunting series of songs, full of raw emotion and atmosphere. These are dark tales of unravelling relationships, deeply-felt loss, addiction and mental health. Serious stuff for serious times. Absorb this and then look out for the new EP soon.