Holly Rees’s recently-released EP, Slow Down, is a quick folk journey through loneliness, love, and heartbreak. Rees is accompanied by only her acoustic guitar and the occasional percussion on these five tracks, and the result is authentic and emotional.
The release of the EP also kicks off her Northern Tour with Matt Dunbar, who also happened to produce Slow Down. Tickets and more information on the tour can be found here.
With the exception of the first track, “Magpie”, which is a melancholy, homesick folk song that’s only served to intensify my feelings about moving away in a week, the EP travels the course of a relationship in the following four songs. It moves through cute love songs until the final breakup track, leaving the listener wondering what happened in the relationship.
“Arms” is the beginning of the love story, and it might just be my favorite track on the EP. It’s adorable and authentic and charming, and the chorus makes my heart warm as Rees sings, “it’s not a race darling we’re just walking holding hands/and when you say you’re bitter trust me, love, I understand/but I believe in love cause I’ve felt it/and I believe in love cause I’ve held it/in my arms.” It’s followed by “Timid Heart”, a poppier song that’s a little less gentle. Rees’s vocals are just a touch stronger as she croons, “and I wanted to sing about storms/but I’m writing about you again.”
The turbulence begins with “Impossible Rules”, where Rees acknowledges that it’s impossible to love someone while keeping your heart locked away and expresses her frustration with a lover for doing just that. The music itself feels farther away; its faded guitar adds to the melancholy of the song. Finally, the EP ends with “Missing Out”, a more fiery breakup track that has a little kick. Rees is still soft as she sings, “I kind of hope you’ve had a bad day too/the kind of days I’ve been having without you.”
There’s something about Holly Rees’s Slow Down EP that makes me emotional. Obviously, “Magpie” touches on a sensitive topic at the moment–I’ve been saying goodbye to friends who are also leaving this coming weekend, and I can already predict that I’ll be homesick for the first few weeks. But the rest of the love (and breakup) songs touched me. Rees is authentic in her folk music; with little instrumentation to back her up, there is nowhere for her to hide, and it comes across as genuine and real.