You get numerous beautiful moments in life: your first kiss, your first love, your first car and numerous others. These moments can only be experienced once in your lifetime, but there is one moment that you can experience numerous times: discovering new music that is beautiful. That is how I feel about singer-songwriter No Stranger‘s EP Onward.
It is a truly beautiful record. Nothing unique but despite this, it is still absolutely beautiful. It is honest and down-to-earth songwriting which is so lacking these days. The songs are executed in a heartfelt way that truly matches the lyrics of the songs. No Stranger sounds like the illicit love child of Dashboard Confessional and Benjamin Gibbard. His voice is high-pitched and packed full of emotion. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and his voice, he sends us into a simple journey down the avenue of life, love and loss.
The opening song “Warmer in the Water” showcases No Stranger’s voice and the simplicity that is Onward. It sets the tone for the EP: heartfelt and beautiful. “Violating the YouTube Terms of Service” sees him take on a slightly angry tone at times when singing about what a waste this guy is and how he hates the way that this guy treats his girlfriend. “Alone in a Double-sized Bed” is a tragic song about being alone and reminiscing on an old love. “Deluge” is a beautiful song that involves the best rain metaphor that I have ever heard. Either that or I misunderstood the meaning of the song. The final song “Desk Drawer” sees No Stranger’s beautiful voice complemented by gang vocals provided by fellow Mind Equals Blown staff writer Connor Feimster and what a damn fine job he has done. “Desk Drawer” provides a beautiful finish to a beautiful EP.
Onward is one of those EPs that just showcases the genuine talent of the artist. It is even better when the artist is just starting out because if this is his first release, then future releases are going to be utterly fantastic. I am truly honoured to have been exposed to No Stranger at such an early stage. He is going to go far with such heartfelt and honest songwriting.