Sean McGowan – ‘Graft & Grief’

By Chris Marshman

It came as no surprise to anybody then when it was announced that Sean had joined the roster over at Xtra Mile Recordings. It’s a natural fit if there ever was one, and those aware of both the label and the musician know that it’s a perfect match. To celebrate his arrival to the label ‘Graft & Grief’ was released at the beginning of September.

Sean’s music resonates with a lot of people. He offers a social commentary which is spot on and relevant to his demographic which consists of twenty-somethings who have been through, or are going through exactly what he’s singing about. Take opening track ‘No Show’ for example – an ode to your first ever job in retail. It’s not a rallying of the troops but more a message of solidarity, McGowan telling the listener that he’s been there and he gets it.

The last track and latest single from the EP, ‘Costa Del Solution’ is a tribute to the package holiday. Its catchy melody juxtaposes with the point being made in the song of the absurdity of working fifty weeks a year just to live for the remaining two. Simple, effective and clever, it shows the true potential that Sean McGowan has to offer.

The EP is book-ended by two spoken pieces ‘Gag, Pt. 1’ and ‘Gag pt.2’, the former acting as an introduction to himself and what he’s about, the latter coming as a message that tells the listener that they can make a difference. Future generations are relying on us and that change is possible with a little “Graft & Grief”.

For what it’s worth, the new addition of the backing band is fine. It does sound in parts like the tracks were hastily arranged. Room for improvement? Sure. But the music on offer here is about much more than that. What truly shines through is Sean McGowan’s knack for penning relatable lyrics, his likable wit and his sharp take on being stuck as another cog in the machine. Clocking in at only 20 minutes long, it’s an EP that’s well worth your time. It introduces McGowan well and whets your appetite for an upcoming full length record.

CHRIS MARSHMAN

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