The name “Arms & Hearts” is no stranger to the UK folk scene, with the full band having put out two EPs since November 2013. “Set in Stone“, however, is the debut solo release from lead singer Steve Millar. Does it make a difference? Read the full review below.
Millar cites The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon as a large influence in his music, and that influence is apparent in his gravelly tones and the upbeat rock sensibilities of “I, Malcontent“. Despite this, “Set in Stone” just seems to lack power.
Millar’s vocals sound like he is trying to force them out; at certain points the style seems to work, such as in the double-tracked parts of “Lost” (the vocal delivery of Wolf Parade springs to mind). But elsewhere, he would benefit from drawing out notes instead of giving them a rougher edge.
2. I, Malcontent
3. The Rain
4. Dust And Bone
5. Take No Prisoners
Millar’s real high points seem to come out when he tones himself down. Slower tracks “The Rain” and “Take No Prisoners” show real promise, particularly at the end of the latter – Millar shouts “
for every dark day is a new tomorrow” under a thick layer of reverb, and there’s real emotion there as an orchestra of banjos plays him out. If the rest of the EP were to follow similar lines, Arms & Hearts would have a winner on their hands.