Navigating the end of your teenage years is brutal for anyone. Life throws you into the deep end the moment school is over, and, from there, you kind of have to figure things out for yourself. Along the way you’ll lose friends, gain them, and probably get a few misguided piercings as you make sense of who you are. But what about adding coronavirus and a total decimation of all our social lives to the mix? Surely enough, it then becomes quite a different cocktail of emotion entirely.
At its essence, these are the sentimental aspects of teenhood that Australian singer-songwriter Nick Ward has bottled up and turned into sonic magic on his latest EP, “Everything I Wish I told You”. Written, produced and mixed by the 19-year-old artist himself over lockdown, the project is a summation of Ward’s life so far, each song fixing itself from totally different palettes of sounds and emotions that stem off through acoustic guitars and elements of hip-hop production.
The project begins with “Overture”, a call-to-arms track which includes the audio of Ward’s birth, sending us the source of his life, that ‘big bang’ moment where it all started. “Do you know who you are?” Ward asks over pounding drums, his words layered like a euphoric onion. Identity is a motif throughout the six-track project, as before long, the singer would be at an all-boys school, an experience which Ward attests: “warped my sense of masculinity and sexuality, and made my ‘coming out’ pretty convoluted” – detailing the experience on the EP’s emotional centrepiece “I Wanna Be Myself or Nothing at All”.
After enveloping himself in the deepest recesses of our heart through sheer joy or an earnest outpouring of emotion, Ward ends the spectacle with “Aubrey Plaza”, a track with shimmering with echoing synths and sighs that are reminiscent of an early 2010’s Beach House track (in other words, it’s an instant classic). “Do I know who I am?” he asks himself of this journey. “The short answer is no,” jokes Ward, “but I think that it’s the interrogation of that question that will bring me closer.”
The talent… the precocious ruminations on growing up… the sonic pleasure we’re getting from each listen of the EP… if you aren’t bumping this EP all day, what the hell are you doing?