Originally from Edmonton, guitarist Earl Donald played in the local indie and punk scene for years. Now the Toronto based musician has placed his bets on a solo career, delivering electronically tinged dance floor ready rhythms and indie pop melodies. It is clear from the start that Earl’s latest single, “Birds of Paradise” from the EP ‘A Lighter World’ has been well thought-out. Collectively, his recorded repertoire thus far reflects his hyperbole-free lyrical sincerity, versatile musicianship, keen penchant for multi-layered melodies, and convergence of electronic and indie influences, all of which coalesce into a distinctive, cosmopolitan sonic tapestry all his own.
Synth licks drenched in rich, dreamy electronics, with extremely slick dance beats are the norm in Earl Donald’s music, and if you ever want Earl to fall further to one side or the other, well, you’ll be waiting a long time. That said, once Earl opens his mouth it doesn’t matter. Whether crooning a ballad or just wanting to dance the night away, Earl sings in a smooth tone heavily tinted by pensive inflections.
An obvious late-night dancefloor-ready single that comes with non-essential but perfectly welcome hand-claps, its Earl Donald’s voice that steals the show on “Birds of Paradise”. He opts for a conversational sing-song tone rather than an overwhelming croon, and it suits both the beat and lyrics.
It’s in this attitude that Earl Donald’s maturity shines: “I feel this coming now. We’ll get there somehow. As your life’s endowed. Move, your body now. Temptation allows, Ask ourselves if were allowed. Hear the words, the words I say. Life can be spent this way. But time reminds me of how. We’re all becoming now. I feel, this coming now.”
Somewhere between our devil-may-care perspective and emotional repository, lies the well-adjusted human being most of us would like to believe we are, in touch with our emotions enough to let them shine, but strong enough to keep those emotions from overwhelming us. As Earl explains: “This track explores growth and transition as well as accepting change as an inevitable truth.” Something he seems to perfectly understand.
Earl Donald would rather dance his troubles away than wallow in them, his super-clean rhythm and darting synths leading his listeners through complex emotions with the aplomb of artists who have been in the game for decades.
“Birds of Paradise” has much that appeals, not least that it’s one of those rare records that doesn’t fit neatly in to one genre. With it, Earl has cemented his place as one of more interesting independent producers of the moment, and looks set to only grow in confidence.
Earl Donald really gives us a complete sampling of all he has learned and all he has to offer with “Birds of Paradise” from the EP ‘A Lighter World’. Along with his introspective songwriting nature and experimental mindset, we can be sure that there is more groovy greatness yet to come.