By Chris Bryson
Roman Clarke is on to something. With the release of his debut EP, Looking For Mine, he’s fashioned a markedly signature sound. As one third of The Middle Coast, Clarke is no newcomer to the local scene. Looking For Mine feels fully formed, ready for the world to hear.
Clarke performed all instruments and vocals on the album, with the exception of electric guitar played by Ariel Posen. Each track is vibrant and distinct, with a pervasive romp that’ll keep a bounce in your step. The EP’s a melding of old-school soul and R&B shot through with a funky backbone and a modern pop sheen.
It’s remarkable how far these tracks will burrow their way into your brain. EP opener “Faithful Man”, like much of the album, feels airy and effortless. Clarke’s vocals shift between deep and delicate, invariably strong. Keys and percussion move in a bounce-step, sway-step groove, as bass follows behind with eager curiosity. The song’s arrangement, like all songs on the EP, feels simultaneously meticulous and natural.
“Let You Fall” finds Clarke’s vocals smooth and sultry with a formidable resonance. Chirping and hopping keys set to a shuffling and bounding beat, the harmonies ascend, hitting almost gospel-like peaks. “Waiting” is a buzzing and bumping tune, slow and heavy, with a late-night grinder groove. Penultimate track “Stop” is a funky dance number full of catchy lines and earworm tricks, liable to get any static listener veering for the floor. The final title track brings things down to a sauntering sway with the same emphatic conviction that carries throughout the entire EP. The chorus a simple yet staying aphorism, it’ll ring through your head for days.
Looking For Mine is full of compact, indelible pop nuggets. Brimming with soaring harmonies, catchy choruses, and shining melodies, each track feels different but perfectly in place. Keep ‘em comin’, Roman Clarke.