EP Review: Arms & Hearts – Set In Stone

Arms & HeartsArms & Hearts

Set In Stone

Release Date: 25th November 2015

‘Set In Stone’ is the brand new EP from Steve Millar, aka Arms & Hearts. The singer/songwriter set out on his musical journey after being truly inspired by The Gaslight Anthem’s ‘The 59 Sound’. He was compelled to pick up his guitar and start on his journey as frontman and leading musician, after years spent as a backing musician.

Fast forward to the latter days of 2015 and after 3 self booked tours, friendships with some extremely supportive Manchester artists such as Sammy Battle and Emma Hallows and sharing the stage with the likes of This Wild Life and Skinny Lister, Millar finally revealed this EP. A round up of all the hard work so far, it is an important step to a further career from the musician.

With feelings of confusion and vulnerability kicking us off, we soon see a defiant edge from Millar as he declares “I’m not lost”. All the while, there is a great melody created from the acoustic guitar strums as banjo is plucked alongside making for a wonderful addition in sound to ‘Lost’, this first track on the EP.

‘I, Malcontent’ sounds slightly more folky from the first chords to the last but there is still a rock tinge running throughout. The rough and gritty vocal of Millar makes for a wonderful juxtaposition to the upbeat feel as banjo and guitar chords seem to bound around the track with ease. Another really good song with a great lyrical story.

Howling guitar notes reverberate their mournful tones around ‘The Rain’ creating a listless and melancholy feel. The vocals are slower and lacking in that gritty rock and roll tone, however the harmonies and strength of Millar’s voice still make for a stellar vocal delivery. The country feel is plain to hear as well from the vocal delivery to the steady guitar line and those howling notes, this is a great anthem in the making.

Gently plucked guitar strings and hushed vocals open ‘Dust and Bone’ so softly that you almost have to strain your ears to hear the muted sounds. We build to the chorus as lyrics become more emotional and that emotive strain is added to the vocals giving them a perfect sense of urgency. Complementing and holding their own but never outshining, the guitar chords play up the quality of Millar’s voice just like they do throughout this EP. This is quite a stunning track and it truly is a highlight of this release.

Final track ‘Take No Prisoners’ is another soft and quiet one, opening with ebbing and flowing guitar which provides a solid base for the melodic vocals delivering yet another emotion laden story. The track may have a sombre feel but ultimately there is a message of hope here that produces enthusiasm and optimism in droves, giving us the perfect finish to this record with a huge final chorus and as good as shouted lyrics.

Check out ‘Dust and Bones’ taken from the EP below:

To find out more about Arms & Hearts visit his Bandcamp page, his Facebook page, his Soundcloud page or you can follow him on Twitter – @Armsandhearts1

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