There is a bit of a stigma surrounding the idea that an EP isn’t a fully-realised body of work, but Nick Ward is ready to prove that concept wrong with his cinematically inclined debut EP, ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’. The six track collection is a carefully executed piece of work that intertwines his previously released singles together with a dreamy soundscape vision. Intended to be listened to from start to finish, it really is a 16 minute form of pure escapism that will have your heart feeling heavy, and your mind completely absorbed by the vivid imagery that is embodied through these personal revelations.
From the opening moments of ‘Overture’, the audio of home videos from his childhood are intertwined with soft guitar, strings, and the lyrics “Do you know who you are? Or are you doing fine just pretending that you’re cool?” effortlessly gliding over the top. Drastically building up to the distorted cries of his younger self, the cinematic vision of this song perfectly sets up the candid and vulnerable nature of the EP. Creating a goosebump inducing moment, the overture is executed in a very bold and theatrical manner that feels like you’re being introduced into the score of a coming of age film.
New focus track ‘FMF!’ is the perfect montage moment that captures the angst, confusion and frustration of the past year of isolation. Contrasted by a summer inspired light guitar and pop forward production, along with a chant ready hook, it would be easy to mistake this as a big empowering anthem. But the darker tones comes from the lyrics where he reveals the reality of the emotions that have crept into his life and his friendships during this unknown period. “I spend the day in bed, wake up do it all again now. Feeling low, I’m feeling dead, fuck your job, and fuck my friends” he sings.
‘Holding The Man’ segues into a lighter and stripped back production. Falling somewhere between Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Cub Sport and Sasha Sloan, this song feels candid and confessional throughout its full three minute duration. Layered with backing vocals by Chris Lanzon, the production that Golden Vessel and Nick Ward have harboured almost feels ethereal and heavenly, which is yet another contrast to the songs lyrics about his coming out experience.
‘My Private Interlude’ continues the cohesive inclusion of all these songs coming together with more home video snippets and moody production that segues into the reassuring ‘I Wanna Be Myself Or Nothing At All’. It’s a song for anyone who identifies as queer and has/had struggled with their sexuality during high school. Feeling like their emotions were repressed by having to fit into a mould, he addresses the freedom he longed to feel. Teaming up with Wellington based singer-songwriter Lontalius, the soothing and simplistic production creates a atmospheric lightness that is a continuation from ‘Holding The Man’.
‘Aubrey Plaza’ then ties it all together with the description of finding true love and the freeing feeling that accompanies it. “You see right through all the things I was taught to do. To be a man, but I’m not tough. When I’m with you I feel enough” he admits as he continues to open up and feel truly seen by his lover. And by now you’ve also heard all the little references from each song that were represented in the beautifully penned overture that prefaced all the emotions this chapter in his life has explored, and you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped out of a therapy session.
The best word to explain this EP is; cinematic. The visual identity of this EP is sonically pieced together in the most beautiful, vulnerable and expansive way possible. You’re immediately drawn into this dreamy and safe space where any feelings are valid, and he’s given so many people a voice to their feelings and thoughts that they didn’t think they had. And to be honest, I wish I had an artist’s music like Nick Ward to take comfort in when I was coming to terms with my sexuality and who I was as a young adult.