Although writing for and fronting punk duo Ghoul Kids gave Taylor Barnes a great place from which to speak on any number of topics and narratives, it wasn’t until he suffered the unexpected departure of a close friend that he decided that a different musical platform would better serve his creative needs. That new sound, a blend of drifting shoegazery, vintage surf and rock urges, gothic vocalisations and a dark, psychedelic pop, was in some ways the antithesis of the path he had up until then been pursuing but it also still pulsed with an alternative, underground and cultish resonance.

The self-titled e.p. explores many dark themes but does so in a fairly accessible way and Is This Real? is the perfect calling card for the release. The vocal’s dour and deadpan delivery are the perfect juxtaposition with the melodic runs and riffs going on behind it and the whole thing is the sound of some serious soul-searching on the part of its creator. Music has always had a cathartic quality and this is the sound of one man really trying to understand the world around him and the hand that he has been dealt.

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