It’s always fun when you get sent new music from an artist that you have never heard of before. New Zealand singer/songwriter, Dan Sharp, has been slowly building up a reputation in New Zealand as one of the most promising songwriters to come out of the country in recent years, and the next step in his journey comes on the 8 February when he will release his new EP, Slack Tide.

The EP is a collection of five well written tracks that showcase the vocal ability and instrumentation of the Kiwi artist, and leave the listener in no doubt that a lot of care has been put into these songs. The first thing that hits you is the lovely tone of voice that Sharp possesses that helps to create an inviting and warm place for the listener.

The opening track on the album sets that tone nicely for the collection of songs that is to come. Tiny Ruins is the perfect showcase of the vocal texture of the performer as he sings about a relationship where things aren’t quite right and the small things that are going wrong are having a detrimental effect to our protagonist. There is a vulnerability to the vocals and lyrics on this track that make for compelling listening.

The vulnerability that we hear on the opener, however, is replaced with a more palpable sense of defiance on the follow up track and former single, LifelineSharp clearly outlines to the romantic partner in the story that he is not willing to be used by the other person who is looking for someone else simply because they are going through a hard time.

Next comes the standout track on the EP in my opinion, a beautiful and touching love song called Kindle and Coal. The imaginary and lyricism on this song was something that properly attracted me as we are presented with the idea being able to create such fire by being different and yet perfect for each other.

Track four is a demonstration that Dan Sharp is not afraid to experiment with different types of production on his songs. Satellites again shows that he can find his way around a love song, and the use of distortion on the guitar and occasion vocals is used to lovely affect to act as a means of presenting the idea of sending your feelings for someone through the air because you can’t physically do it at the time. A powerful idea, done expertly here.

The last track on the EP, is the New Zealanders new single, Have To Change. There is so much to love about this track, from the powerful beat that moves through the whole piece to the infectious and rebellious nature of the vocals as we again see the more defiant side of Sharp’s songwriting.

This is a triumph and confident step forward for Dan Sharp and hints at much more to come from the songwriter. We look forward to it.