EP Review: Nick Ward’s deeply personal treatise on identity in ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ is beautiful, empowering pop.

The Breakdown

...this is a breathtakingly beautiful EP that shines a light on personal struggles and yet has thread of optimism and empowerment throughout.
Hunnydew Recordings 8.3

Sydney’s Nick Ward is only nineteen but the maturity and stature of his new EP, ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ is phenomenal. In instrumentation, vocals and lyrical themes, this is a fully formed piece of indie pop that sparkles with melody and rhythms.

The themes are very personal and born from the strictures of lockdown. According to Nick:

‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ really feels like a summation of my life so far – musically and emotionally. It was written, produced and mixed by myself during lockdown in 2020, and is six tracks long. It was important to me that every song came from a different palette of sounds and emotions, but still felt cohesive.

The brief opening ‘Overture’ is a case in point – echoing an orchestra warming up with the sounds of a baby being born (Ward himself) is a string-laden and dramatic entre that prepares you for this journey:

The project begins with the real audio of my birth, and poses the lyric ‘Do you know who you are?’, which brings me to the main theme of the project: identity.

Indeed, identity forms the common thread running through the EP:

I’m 19 years old, so it wasn’t too long ago that I was attending an all-boys school that warped my sense of masculinity and sexuality, and made my ‘coming out’ pretty convoluted. The emotional centrepiece of the project, ‘I Wanna Be Myself or Nothing At All’, goes into pretty explicit details about that experience.

‘FMF!’ follows with a hyperactive rhythm and flowing style – Ward’s lyrics while laden with a degree of melancholy and sadness nonetheless are punctuated by a sense of wry humour and fruity language. It’s honest and emotional but driven by an optimistic musical flow.

Ward’s melodic adroitness and self-referential lyrics are at the fore in ‘Holding the Man’ with its gorgeous folk style guitars and ethereal harmonies that float like a choir of angels.

We return to the theme of birth in ‘My Own Private Interlude’ – a brief instrumental with the baby recordings appearing again, before we segue into ‘I Wanna Be Myself or Nothing At All’ (featuring Lontalius).

This track is in a way the central core of the EP with its themes about being honest about yourself – the fear of being different and wanting to fit in with heteronormativity at an all boys school against your true nature. It is deeply personal and captures what it must feel like to hide a fundamental part of what makes you who you are, and the empowerment of coming out. It also hints at the potential tragedy of those who don’t reconcile with who they are. Very moving.

The EP ends with the glorious ‘Aubrey Plaza’ – a reflective and atmospheric track with vocal interplay and lovely harmonies. The self-redirected lockdown video is utterly charming and intimate:

Out now through Hunnydew Recordings, this is a breathtakingly beautiful EP that shines a light on personal struggles and yet has thread of optimism and empowerment throughout. You can get directly from the artist through the link below or download or stream here.

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