EP Review: Ed Staal – Battle Scars & Broken Hearts

Making a name for himself across his last few single releases, Ed Staal has gradually been working his way towards national acclaim with features across tastemaker press and radio play across the UK. Now releasing his full EP Battle Scars & Broken Hearts, Ed showcases what a truly gifted writer and performer he is.

Opening with the gentle R&B bop ‘Loved and Lost’, Ed quickly introduces his soulful approach and silky smooth vocal tone. A swaying soundscape of swelling synths, swinging drums and deep bass, the tracks catchy R&B-pop vibe shines as Ed’s ultra catchy vocal lines and pin point harmonies shine. Joined by producer and fellow pop musician Buzz Violet, the pair swap vocal duties mid way through the track, giving another dimension to the already intoxicating soundscape before branching out into some gorgeous guitar lines during the tracks climax.

This synth heavy R&B-pop come nu-soul approach continues into track 2 ‘Naked’, once again showcasing catchy vocal lines and Ed’s honest, emotive and yet also bright and cheeky lyricism but this time offering a more uplifting tone with a uptempo under a gentle swell of synths. Adorned with some reverb tinted guitar lines in the chorus, ‘Naked’ captures a warming, breezy, easy going vibe under Ed’s ever pin-point vocals.

Elsewhere on the EP, ‘Why’ offers a more heartfelt, melancholic example of Ed’s writing as he read through the breakdown of a relationship. ‘That Girl’ offers a bright, uptempo soundscape indicating an indie-pop influence to Ed’s R&B stylings, while acoustic soul ballad ‘Bad News’ captures an essence of Paulo Nutini, a raw, grounded track demonstrating Staal’s natural talents and obvious ability to smash a solo acoustic performance.

Ending on a high, Ed’s first release form the EP ‘Baby Blue’ closes things out with sharp, reflective and relatable songwriting, almost like the EP ends on the culmination of all that Ed does so well. ‘Baby Blue’, like many of the songs is such a natural, unforced potential hit that it is truly awe-inspiring to behold.

An EP full of excellent songwriting, sharp, relatable, honest lyricism, beautifully thought out instrumentation and silky vocals to die for, Battle Scars & Broken Hearts is truly excellent. Every track could be a single, and that’s not to say they’re all just catchy pop songs, they all go deeper than that. These are all emotionally and musically intelligent tunes which are all brilliantly written, catchy and yet musically fulfilling. This is nothing short of a masterpiece in alternative-pop.

Listen below:

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