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Josh Doyle

Modern Times EP (self-released)

By • May 2nd, 2017 • Category: Album review

Josh Doyle has released two albums, four EPs, had four top 30 singles in the UK charts, supported Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams on massive arena tours around the country and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. In 2012 he was named “Top Undiscovered Singer-Songwriter” by Guitar Centre. And yet… I bet you’ve never heard of him.

In the early 2000s he achieved short-lived acclaim as the lead-singer and guitarist of The Dumdums, a band who were writing punchy pop-punk songs before Busted and McFly had even picked up their guitars (probably). One album and four singles later the group dismantled and Josh moved to Nashville to wait tables.

In the intervening years he steadily released EPs, and a full-length album, and was kept going by a small but extremely loyal fan base from the UK and his new home town. During this time his sound expanded, taking on a maturity and depth which can only really be accessed by growing up and living life.

‘Modern Times’ is his fourth EP. A stripped back and grown up affair where Josh’s guitar playing and vocals are sparsely accompanied by cello and drums. Lyrically, the songs on the record swim in the dark undertow of real life worries and concerns. A steady kick-drum beat marks ‘Locust Years’ out as a stomper you can imagine Johnny Cash singing. It’s a song given weight by its country-drenched guitar licks and Josh’s lyrical lament.

Working and living for no return is a theme across the record: “Sometimes I get the feeling I’m not even here,” Josh remarks on opener ‘Lighthouse’. On ‘Through the Night’ he sings, “Made it through another week/can’t remember a thing I did”. This is pop with a dark edge. Stirring and heartfelt, the lyrics are charged but the choruses are so catchy you can’t wait to hear them again. ‘Keep My Mind’ bucks this trend – a sentimental number full of love’s eternal hopes: “I can’t help but smile when someone says your name.”

There’s no doubt Doyle is a songwriter with bags of talent and that ‘Modern Times’ is an EP full of integrity. This is a grown-up songwriting, where the beauty and meaninglessness of our lives is the juxtaposition at the heart of everything. Josh Doyle knows his craft well and ‘Modern Times’ should be the EP which gains him the audience his music has always deserved.

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