Artist: Chase Coy
Album: Awake EP
Something this unassuming and delicate runs the serious risk of slipping by unnoticed, but it would be a terrible shame were not more people to hear Awake. A gentle, simplistic, but infinitely touching collection of songs, it’s Chase Coy’s first EP offering, coming ahead of a third full-length which is promised for later this year. In these five tracks, Coy displays an uncanny ability to capture something profound with subtlety, infusing ostensibly plain songs with conviction and emotion. It has a complete earnestness which is very endearing, although its low-key nature means it may struggle to make a wide impact.
The songs are largely similar – bare, fragmented acoustic pieces led by Coy’s boyish and thoughtful vocals. Bar “New Love,” they remain quite slow-burning and very introspective, sounding more like diary snippets or excerpts recorded for oneself as opposed to an audience. “Forever and Always” is very whimsical – intensely loving, with the youthful intonation in Coy’s voice giving it a curious charm. He’s wholly absorbed in his lyrics, coming across as rather nostalgic and lovesick, and yet there’s a touch of the bittersweet to this track that peters into “Awake” also. Essentially a continuation of its predecessor, this is something of a hidden tearjerker. Coy seems to rue missed chances and what might have been, using a piano to add a more soulful air. The song has an infinite appeal but really begs the attention of the listener, as its allure is subtle and fragile.
“By Now” is a little less besotted. Comparing love to a weed that grows in your soul, Coy seems markedly less enamoured here, drenching his pensive keystrokes and notes in sorrow. It’s not outright or emotive, but rather something mundane. Touches like this are what distinguish the EP and set it apart from a phalanx of like-minded, brooding singer-songwriters. There’s something more compelling to the everyday sound of Coy’s music, dismissing as it does the manipulative tendencies that tend to undermine acoustic offerings. He even sings with precious little emotion, barely looking to register with his listeners even as he shares the musings of his heart with them. “One More With You” is racked by guilt and horror, if in the most understated way imaginable. It almost seems odd, as one can’t doubt the conviction or strength of feeling, but it never comes across as self-indulgent. The execution is far too plain and unattended to be insipid, and there is something inherently loveable about the song’s honest poignancy.
“New Love” is the sole exception to these softer offerings, as Coy teams up with Liz Akhavan for a warmer, sprightly song. It’s upbeat and hopeful and slots nicely into an otherwise very understated album.
Awake may be too grey and unspectacular to really catch people’s attention, but it’s a sweet and enduring listen. There’s a lot of love in these songs, even if it seems – indeed, perhaps BECAUSE it seems – that Coy’s only playing them to himself. The EP plays like a brief, shared memory as opposed to a story shared with the world, but this lonesome tendency lets it linger in a more personal and affecting way.
Review written by Grace Duffy