Russell Esby is a 17 year old multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, from the European island of Malta. Russell says that writing songs and playing music is his escape from everyday life’s complexities. “Post-Sentiments” is Russell’s 6 track EP: exquisitely meandering sonics that author tranquil moods presented alongside insightful lyrical content. With a clear love of personal storytelling, and a keen eye for the problems present throughout relationships, and yet with no desire to feverishly impose his knowledge, Russell weaves a gentle spell that pushes listeners toward awareness at their own pace. If you can embrace the gentlest subplot inside yourself – one that cherishes whisper-soft dances across the aural waves – then please do step into this acoustic dominated experience.
The music is stripped down to the mostly acoustic essentials, with some percussion and other sparsely used electric and organic instrumentation. It’s not easy to define: incorporating elements of Folk, Rock, and Pop, blended into something that is always soft, rhythmic and undeniably catchy in the most peaceful sense of the term. “Amanda’s Hymn” opens the recording with a meandering tale and a gentle swaying beat.
“Carnival Day” sounds like diamonds of a sunshine shimmying across ocean waves that balances all things infectious in Esby’s sound which matches his intelligently poetic lyrics. He follows this with the sweet-sounding “Girl Of My Dreams”, with a lovelorn dreamy feel that is reminiscent of the first time you really fell under the spell of infatuation. “Chocolate” flows superbly into the rustic guitars and drums that set the tone for the upbeat rhythm and eclectic unison vocal style which makes for a quirky and spirited recording.
“Hypnotised” is an exercise of song writing minimalism that keeps Russell Esby’s lyrical narrative at the forefront beside his simple and crisp guitar work and beautiful song writing. Few artists so young could write such a simple song that is overflowing with a level of soulful emotion, yet Esby seems to do so effortlessly. The title track, “Post-Sentiments”, is without a doubt the EP’s catchiest radio ready song, with its smoothly flowing rhythm and fleshed out instrumentation.
Uncluttered, simple, and spotless, the song features solid production work for a homemade project that’s never over- nor under-produced. The combination of the essential music and deep lyrics hit home in unexpected ways, because it’s easy to listen to and learn what Russell trying to convey.
Russell Esby’s songs allude to reigniting love, being empathetic, encouraging imagination and wonderment, and reflecting on life. Not bad for a seventeen year old. Esby remains cool, calm, and collected throughout, but there’s a charm about his vocals. Even though he never asserts himself in an aggressive manner, his personality wins you over, despite his subtlety.
All in all, Russell Esby delivers a well-rounded affair with “Post-Sentiments”. He’s a minimalist artist – at least on this record- but for the most part, he does a great job of balancing stripped and more electric moments. Everything feels natural and right, with a soulfulness that’s never forced.