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Set In Stone EP

From the very first bar of this EP, as ‘Lost’ starts up, the familiar husky tone of Steve Millar’s voice sends you to another place. Though his voice sounds harsh, it somehow facilitates an incredible feeling of homeliness, being comforted. The bright chords provide a nostalgic, painful happiness in conjunction with the lyrics, which proclaim, “I should just let it go and accept my fate”. But in contrast to previous records, everything takes a slightly more buoyant turn, as he sings, “I’m not lost. I’m just hanging around”.

Comparisons with The Gaslight Anthem have been used repeatedly when reviewing Arms & Hearts, but the reference is unfair. More so, it’s akin to Bruce Springsteen’s combinations of bright chords and a heavy heart. But I wouldn't compare Steve or his work to anything at all. Although evidently in the folk-punk genre often synonymous with the depths of New Jersey, the record in itself is something of its own breed, one I can’t wait to see developed.

This record is the leap between adolescence and adulthood, encompassing every single petrifying accolade that leap may bring. Millar comes into his own through twinges of steel strings, experiments with delay and haunting lyrics. Its downfall is only in a lack of polish at times – pitch errors, timing issues here and there – but this embellishes its raw nature.

Its final lyric particularly resonates: “For every dark day, there's a new tomorrow / Stow your fears, stow your sorrow.”

by Now Then Sheffield