Review: Sean Heathcliff’s Kagu EP

Kagu, the new project from ex-Snakadaktal member, Sean Heathcliff is short and quite zippy. But the fact it’s one of the best sounding and sung debut releases by an Aussie artist from the last few years makes up for that. There’s a ridiculous amount of promise from this project, not just from pedigree, but the standard of songs on offer here.

‘Shadows of the Wind’ starts off moody and slow- Heathcliff’s lovely vocals soaring over the top entrancing and mystifying. These tracks could have been dropped as an instrumental EP and the lush beats alone would win praise, but the writing and vocals on the Kagu EP are just a taste of further gorgeousness to come. “Stay in the shadow of the wind… please. Keep my reflection from your skin”. Bliss.

The second track, ‘Human’ swoons and sways with melody and synthy landscapes. The sound is somewhere between the xx and Glass Animals, and oozes with replayability. The haunted vocals shimmer alongside the bubbly beat and mesh wonderfully. Expect this song to pop up somewhere on the Hottest 100 next year, who could resist these melodies?

Kagu steps into the acoustic Corby/Grizzly Bear/Vance Joy vein with ‘Misunderstood Judgement of Stones’. Can we take a moment to acknowledge the DREAMINESS here?!

Such a strong vocalist, and with lyrics like “go, run away from me, leave me on my own”, you’re melting long before it turns into an uplifting strumming ballad that screams festival sing-a-long. “You could have helped me, help myself!!!”

To all the Jacobs in Oz, stand the hell up right now because there’s a track on this EP just for you. ‘Jacob’ at first appears to be another acoustic offering- it’s interesting to mark the sharp difference between styles on the Kagu EP. The chorus to this track is straight out of an M83 track musically, but slower and more readily accessible, if that was possible. The mix match between quiet verses and the build to the explosion of song and melody builds and swells until it practically oozes out the speakers and into your eardrums.

 

The early reception from “Human” and “Shadow of the Wind” from critic and casual listener alike should definitely build the hype for this sleepy EP. For such a short project, there’s a wealth of standout moments that demand attention and would soundtrack any hazy Sunday road trip into the sunset with someone beautiful. And while many still mourn the loss of Snakadaktal, the music is living on strong for Sean Heathcliff in this dreamy Kagu offering. Slap on some good headphones and float away.

Kagu

Josh Brooks

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