Gregor McEwan - Autumn Falls EP (RD: 16/10/20)

Press Shot

a press release by Jörkk Mechenbier

Gregor McEwan? Isn't that the guy from Highlander?! No, of course not! That's the guy I met one morning in the breakfast room of a Cologne hostel after we had both performed at a festival the night before. He was awake already. I was awake still! I even seem to remember that he helped me with the sugar and the coffee cup because I couldn't even get that right anymore. On the one hand that might be a little embarrassing on the other hand it left me with the memory of a helpful and likeable young man. If he had known that I had remembered him like that, he would have just asked me to write a few words about his new EP "Autumn Falls" instead of feeling compelled to offer the 'attention whore' that is Jörkk Mechenbier a micro-feature on the song "Halloween Costume". So if you listen to the EP - and especially to this song - for the purpose of a review and at one point you get the feeling that the production duo Thies Neu & Gregor McEwan might have made a minimal mistake in the mixing process, McEwan has a temporary crack in his otherwise golden shimmering vocal cords in the middle of the song... or even think that a rusty watering can has briefly taken over the part of the singer, then I can reassure you: You have caught the moment, that I ‘sang’ on this EP for a very short time. So please be forgiving with Gregor!

The dear Linus Volkmann wrote in the press release for the latest "Spring Forward EP" that this is not a (musically seen) "thrift shop", which was meant laudably and was of course completely correct in the context he created. However, I myself would like to make an effort here and use exactly this image now, while giving it a positive connotation. Because all the cool stuff Gregor McEwan offers in his musical vendor's tray can be seen and heard throughout, and fascinatingly often - and above all in a unique way - he combines seemingly completely incompatible elements into a homogeneous whole. People got me here, so I do my shopping here! Just like these charming little stores with a stylish interior and a wide range of products where you don't know what to buy first, only to buy everything... this EP is about to wring an enchanted "Ohhh!" and a satisfied "Ahhh!" one after the other from the listener. Opulently instrumented it’s coming their way, this small yet broad-shouldered EP. McEwan succeeds again and again in evoking great feelings of being wrapped in warm melodiousness, far away from the whiny clichés many others use to create such an atmosphere. Every song has its own drama and depth, each one blessed with a different perspective on Ups & Downs, Love & Hate and Dos & Don'ts. Written from a life lived with an open heart and even more open eyes.

It all starts with the opener "Halloween Costume", which carefully whispers in your ear about the upcoming beginning of autumn and in the further course of time melancholically wants to buddy up and hug you. But no fear! Nobody plans a good ol’ German 'Schunkelabend' here, even if you can't help but sway back and forth a little to the sounds of the music. While the song continues to rise and build up... not to say rebel, and, with continuous new instruments, timbres and sounds, is approaching its dramatic end,  the audi(o)torium at some point in the middle of the hymnal chorus, arrives at the realization that flugelhorns really do have a fantastic sound and a dramaturgical raison d'être, and that auto-tune, used sparingly and sensibly, can also be really cool. And after all this has finally been taken off your hands and you discover the goose bumps that have formed almost unnoticed, everything falls back into place... the muscles in your ears suddenly relax and you are presented a middle 8 long time to feel reminded of The Mountain Goats and Okkervil River before a Metallica meets Van Halen staccato/tapping/double bass part introduces the grand finale and the song ends almost surprisingly. But really only almost! Because when I review all this again, I wonder anyway, how this guy gets all these feelings into just one song which is barely over 3 minutes long...

This is followed by the emotional rehab in form of the title song "Autumn Falls", where Gregor McEwan gives us the Connor MacLeod: After a soulful picking, a dominant, vibrant acoustic guitar sounds and the fatherly dark voice of the protagonist takes over the protectorate over our emotions in a classic way. So in this song the hero of the story protects us and tells us sonically that we don't have to worry. Like an two-handed sword stuck back into its sheath, on which you can't cut yourself anymore, but you know it's there when it's dangerous out there. Yes, "Autumn Falls" - but if you don't feel any hope in the face of this chorus, I can't help you either!

I have already mentioned the "Ohhhs & Ahhhs" from McEwan's specialty store of picturesque, emotional everyday life and special features. The third track of the EP now even proves me right with the title: "Ode To Oh". And the "Oh" stands for the phonetic reality as well as for the feeling, which this interjection can always convey. "Oh Lord!" sang Janis Joplin, "Oh, oh, I love her so!" cawed Joey Ramone once. And whoever finds himself in such illustrious company should be beyond all doubt anyway, oh-oh-or?

Finally, the artist warms our somewhat wistful listener's heart with "Forever Ago", as the "Autumn Falls EP" is drawing to a close with this wisely chosen masterpiece. And once again this musical action hero puts all his superpowers into just one song, which combines dramatic heaviness with light-footed hope. But it's also McEwan's personal view of the world and the things that can be read out of this song and makes it even more likeable than the fact that he once put sugar in a coffee cup and stirred it for a drunk punk like me. He already had me when he stirred this cup for me!

Have fun with these songs ... no! musical works... and enjoy their mood and sound as much as I do. I wish it to you with all my heart. An ode to "Ohhh & Ahhh"!

Your Jörkk Mechenbier