Sound — 8
I found Imaginary Friend (Jesse Epstein) through following Kina Grannis' music and knew of his name for a few months before I found him on Spotify one day. I played his EP all the way through and just fell in love with his sound, his lyrics, the haunting melodies and soothing harmonies. I saw him perform live (opening for Kina Grannis) last year for the first time (and again this year) and bought the record. I have not looked back since! His sound is along the lines of Fleet Foxes, with elements of Bon Iver and Iron And Wine. The tracks are all acoustic based and guitar led, filled with harmonies that actually make me melt every time I hear it. It is essentially a folk record like above mentioned, although there is something unique and special about the way Jesse sings/writes that makes this EP stand out as one of my favourites of all time.
Lyrics — 9
All songs on this record were written solely by Jesse. His songs feel like stories, they are descriptive and poetic. They really make you feel a part of the song. The songs are all quite slow paced and emotional. Its one of those CD's you listen to and you get completely lost in some other world. One of my favourite tracks on the EP is "Wherever You Go", which (in concert) Jesse stated is "about not being able to fight the snow"... Now I'm not quite sure what on earth that means but its still a pretty song! It has a memorable acoustic guitar riff in the intro and chorus and features harmonies from Kina Grannis. Kina also features in a couple of the other tracks ("In My Sight", "Comes And Goes"). She is a great edition to the songs as their voices complement each others very nicely. Jesse's voice is smooth and warm, he has a very distinct tone which fits really well around the guitars and creates a very relaxed feel. It seems almost effortless.
Overall Impression — 8
This is one of my favourite records of the past few years. It's hauntingly beautiful and is well worth buying for anyone who enjoys the acoustic/folk/indie genre! The songs are quite stripped down, I would love to hear what he sounds like with a bigger sound behind him, but saying that I do love how raw this record is! The stand out tracks on the album for me are "Chasing Ghosts" and "Wherever You Go". I can't pick a least favourite track because the others are all equally as good and my favourites are ever changing! My one criticism would be that, after seeing him live twice I know that his voice is much better than is shown on the EP (although, it is brilliant on there too!). Maybe from his next record I would like to hear more of the live quality that I heard in the shows. I think its a great introduction to Imaginary Friend and his music and I hope to hear more from him. He deserves more recognition for his talent.