Paul Iwan’s latest album, PRESENT, will be released tomorrow (Friday 8 April) and the excitement and noise around the latest release is certainly justified.
His previous music has followed a futuristic style of driving guitar loops and booming vocals which really capture his unique style. Since winning the 2019 Liverpool Acoustic 24 hour Song-writing challenge at Threshold, Paul has come out with a few singles, but this April is set to be his biggest and most impressive release to date.
His first track titled Loss kicks in with recurring synth sounds and a powerful drumbeat before his melancholy vocals begin. Throughout the song Paul is conveying a sense of loss within the lyrics, something that everyone experiences eventually, but the climax to the song comes beautifully from the decrescendo, which brings out the song nicely.
This is followed by Further Away which begins with a sorrowful piano playing quietly before the blasting beats of the drum kicks off the rest of the song. The echoing effect of the backing vocals here are used greatly here as Iwan’s lyrics repeat him singing ‘Further Away’. Again, Inside feels like more of a personal song, with the vocals introducing the track, soon accompanied by piano. The harmonised backing vocals really complement Iwan’s voice, and the song fits perfectly on the album.
The next song, Present, begins with an almost disjointed synth sound, making you feel uneasy and on the edge of your seat. Soon Iwan’s powerful vocals come in and it really leaves you speechless as it’s clear he is singing with such passion and even more effective with the limited instrumentation on the song. The reverb vocals really send chills down your spine alongside the slowly strummed guitar. Still has a quick paced beat with an array of synth sounds and almost feels like you’re being taken out of this world with the futurist style being frequent again.
Hurt begins with double tracked vocals and features an upbeat groove with jangly guitar effects, which definitely help drive along the pace of the song. The track ends with an atmospheric riff played by the guitar which slowly echoes and fades out. Again, this futuristic sound is captured again with the beginning of the next track Hunter which has synth effects along with Iwan’s elongated voice which really define the whole album as his voice is immense throughout. They added in a choir to sit behind the main vocals which fits well for the sombre mood of the song.
Underwater as the same suggests begins with the sound of waves crashing together, which is a real unique opening for a song. Which again has limited instrumentation, but the guitar echoing in the background along with the harmonic almost synth sounding backing vocals really make this a calming addition to the album. Ley Lines is one of the only instrumental tracks on the album. It has the constant space feeling and follows well into the next song, which is Control. Which features cryptic messages in the lyrics and shows that he has a unique perspective from his experience which he wants to share. His lyrics give people hope and remind them of the strength that’s inside them.
The last song, Mono, has haunting keyboards which, with the drums, slowly build up the climax of the track and gives the album a strong finish.
Overall, this album is truly attention-grabbing and engaging with its futuristic pop style elements and Iwan’s memorising lyrics. He has truly come back with a bang.
Paul Iwan’s latest album PRESENT is available via Klee Music on the following formats: Limited Edition 12” Red Vinyl, CD and Download Editions.