1st Base Runner enlists the help of Bryan Ellis to create a powerful and intensely personal EP in Ellis.
Collaborating can sometimes bring out the best in both parties. That certainly seems to be the case with new EP Ellis, a joint venture from 1st Base Runner and Bryan Ellis. With a more lively feel than earlier 1st Base Runner material, the EP manages to create a hazy yet atmospheric glow that sticks to a warm and enigmatic template against atmospheric bouts of synthy, fuzzy flows.
Starting with Near Me, we’re straight away thrown into steady beats as the track builds against echo-laden, fractured guitar picking and ethereal rhythms that slide into your unconsciousness. As vocals enter the fray, the fragile sound is realised in greater clarity as guitar gently ebbs and flows in and out. It’s a strong opener and sets up the EP nicely.
Followed by Flux, the more settled sound of Near Me is counteracted by fuzzy bass, hard-hitting drums and a synthy top layer that holds it all together well. With a more indie-folk flow, a dreamy, shoegaze vibe helps develop the sound against subtle yet strong harmonies in the chorus. Numbers then performs admirably as the ‘halfway’ track in the EP, with strong use of female backing vocals allowing it to be a little bolder in its development. This is fully realised as the poignant and addictive chorus hits. There are hints of 80s indie in there too which really helps control the rhythms from the outset.
As we get towards the EP close, it feels as though 1st Base Runner and Bryan Ellis have settled down a little, both mentally and musically. WXW is a slow-burning and delicate track that plays on distinctly laidback vibes and stripped-back sounds with the guitar dancing around the vocal track as a tale of romance ensues. The EP ends with Man Overboard, a more electronic-based closer that relies on synths to create atmosphere and develop an addictive and playful finish.
Ellis by 1st Base Runner and Bryan Ellis is a delightfully structured and powerful EP you can really get lost in. Each track has it’s own story to tell both musically and vocally, with a real difference to each song that still manages to hold on to an overall theme. This is a difficult job to do on an EP but here it is done with ease. A strong release from powerful and creative spirits.