When Ewan MacFarlane, the charismatic former Grim Northern Social frontman and long-time member of electro maestros Apollo 440, states “Its high time I stepped out and made the music I always needed to make,” then you’d better believe it, as he boldly embraces a whole new sound.
August 13th sees the release of MacFarlane’s first ever solo single, preceding a forthcoming full-length album later this Autumn. And whilst the trademark socially insightful lyrics and biting vocals of his previous recorded output remain very much part of the DNA, it’s safe to say that stylistically speaking, MacFarlane has mellowed; for he has spent the intervening time embracing his inner melodic troubadour, en-route to an uncharted destination. Sporting more than a touch of Americana in his new material, he honours the revered rock’n’roll songbooks of his songwriting heroes Bowie, Petty, and Springsteen.
Whilst the new songs may take inspiration from some legendary songbooks though, their origin remains very much a thing of its time. Challenging himself mid lockdown to write and upload one tune per day to Youtube, the songs mostly tell tales of tension with pledges of eternal love.
First single, ‘Stirrin’ In The City’, sets the scene for this glorious celebration of love and rock ‘n’ roll with gritty guitars, a huge vocal and an instantly recognisable chorus. Written in the immediate post lockdown window, Ewan says, “You could see the joy, relief and excitement in people’s faces at finally being allowed out again. And even though the weather changed from beautiful spring sunshine to snow in the blink of an eye, no one cared!” In the face of unprecedented restrictions of precious liberties, ‘Stirrin’ In The City’ captures the very palpable sense of liberation that came with the renewed capacity to connect with others. As Ewan himself puts it “the words ‘what a day’ kept looping in my mind as we walked, and then I knew I had it.”