by Thomas Bedward April 03, 2021
When we last spoke with Welsh songwriter Anthony Price, he was championing the release of his debut album as Dunkie, a whimsical, yet wonderfully evocative new project. The album, which was given the textured title of ‘Working to Design’, arrived as an understated masterpiece, one that shone a spotlight on his tactile combination of indie rock and abstract sensitivity, and created an ambling nineteen-track epic that explored universal themes like love, loss, hope, and re-birth. Now, almost two years on from the monumental release, Dunkie is back in the spotlight and continuing to impress, with the release of his new five-track EP, ‘The Vanishing and Other Stories’.
Another collaborative effort that sees him once again teaming up with producer Wayne Basset, as well as scores of other musicians and vocalists, the new EP is a gorgeous continuation of his sound, both thematically and stylistically. Adorned with another gripping cover by Welsh artist Michael Gustavius Payne, the EP sees Dunkie diving into the dark parts of the human condition, addressing the over-arching reaches of loneliness, isolation and fear – emotions that many of us have undoubtedly struggled without throughout the global pandemic.
Opening quite fitting with ‘The Vanishing’, the EP wastes little time in announcing itself, reaching out with a lavish sweep of instrumentals that flitters and falls upon a field of glistening synths of nuanced guitar. Between the notes, Anthony’s vocals cut cleanly, delivering his familiar and wonderfully distinct croon as he cries out into the dark, “You’ll miss me when I’m gone”. In second cut, ‘Shadows on the Sun’, a more folk-esque sound emerges, and Dunkie push hard to deliver an upbeat hook that drags you from the darkness of the opening track.
It’s a quick, but enjoyable change of pace, but as ‘Choke’ emerges, it’s clear that Dunkie are looking to keep you on edge, tearing away from brighter days and instead turning inwards to more haunting, contemplative tones. Heightened tentative percussion and mesmerising flute sounds, ‘Choke’ sees guest vocalist Mali Davies taking lead, guiding you through their final moments and to a truly haunting end. In the closing chapters, the journey continues, offering a bittersweet song about a relationship fading on ‘Deep Dark Heart’, and a final, peaceful end on the beautiful closing piece, ‘The Vanishing Shadow’.
When speaking of the EP, Anthony explained that it was, “reminiscent of 1950’s & 1960’s short story anthologies, collected together in the world of Corgi and Penguin paperbacks, we’ve aimed to create a similar aesthetic with this EP. These songs/stories are grounded in the mundane yet heightened by a haunting, terrifying and sometimes surreal reality that surrounds us, present with despair for human lives, searching for hope in humanity and our own existence within it. Standalone stories, that exist in the same storytelling world we write.”
A worthy successor to ‘Working to Design’, the new EP is another work of musical art. Filled with gorgeous melodies and honest, human emotion, it’s a collection that will impress even the most stoic and stone-hearted of critics.
You can find ‘The Vanishing and Other Stories’ on all major platforms and keep an eye out for when we release Dunkie’s first album on vinyl later this year.
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