EP REVIEW: Nicky Schrire – An Education

Changing from one genre to another is a rather tricky manoeuvre. An artist would have to tear themselves out of their already established niche and force themselves into a new niche and hope that people are receptive to the new sound. This is what Nicky Schrire did with the release of her new EP An Education. It pursues a creative process rooted in the folk tradition of telling stories rather than the complex ebb and flow of jazz music that accompanied her previous EP.

There is nothing particularly spectacular about An Education. It may follow in the folk tradition but does not absorb any of the qualities that are commonly associated with folk music. There are no twanging banjos, pounding kick drums or burly white men yelling “hey”. If anything, Schrire’s sound is much more akin to a stripped down version of Daughter with influences of Simon and Garfunkel flung into a mix. Simple cello sections, courtesy of Ariella Caira, accompany her rasping yet soaring voice. Delicate acoustic guitar chords give An Education an added sense of lilt and melody.

It is in the lyrics that An Education truly excels. An Education is best described as a travel diary. Schrire is clearly a person imbued with a sense of wanderlust as she seems awfully comfortable with touring one major city after another. It could be a result of being born in London and then whisked down to South Africa coupled with her relocating to New York for five years, and now she is back in South Africa. Her EP captures the experience of constantly changing cities and it comes off as being an incredibly cathartic process. It is understandable because people become attached when they live in a place for a long time, and moving from this place can often be a painful experience. The lyrics of An Education captures this pain quite poignantly in the penultimate song “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”. It is a fitting end to this travel diary as Schrire acknowledges that she no longer belongs in this place that she used to call home and that it is time to leave it behind to seek out a new home.

An Education is a powerful and simple EP that recounts the cathartic journey that comes with moving from one city to another. Her return to Cape Town to properly launch her EP could be seen as a homecoming for such a wonderful artist, but An Education reminds us that it is tinged with a bittersweet sense of longing for places long gone.

 

 

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