Label: Field/ Island Release date: 01/11/10 Link: Website With his background, press interest and enthusiastic fans, the hype around Pete Lawrie is definitely high. Press quotes that would make even the most egotistical man blush and a long line of musical family heritage, things look made for the welsh bred singer/songwriter. And the new EP shows no sign of halting this. In the End is the second EP release, (well, technically third, but one was on a limited welsh release!), and moves in similar ways. It certainly feels like an element of commerciality about this release, however, a conscious effort at becoming commercially recognised, even if subconscious. ‘Black and Blue’ certainly feels this way. Within the context of the EP, this second track cannot hide, and possibly for the wrong reasons. Penned as more of a folk or alternative performer, the automated beat behind this track does not sit well. You get the feeling that, if this was a stand alone track, as experimentation or a side project, it would work and be well received. It is technically competent, musically and lyrically, with Lawrie’s gruff vocals layered over, but, as a combination, it feels somewhat dated. Perhaps with just a simple guitar, or rockier drum beat, this track could have nestled perfectly within the EP, rather than appearing as a mild experimentation. Opener and title track ‘In the End’ is well structured, and pleasant, yet it feels far from unique, with all the trappings of similar artists at the moment, even down to faint female harmonies. That’s not to say that it is not enjoyable. The melodies, vocals and accompaniments work together to create something that is easy on the ears. It just comes as a surprise that it seems to be entering into an already over saturated market, overflowing with sensitive males wielding guitars and the right chords. The real gem of this EP is ‘Souvenir’. Slow and gentle, this track is what the progression of the EP should be; from upbeat, belting opener to deeper conclusion. The track is reminiscent of Damien Rice, in all the right ways, with a soulful, growling voice revealing emotion rather than bravado. It highlights the lack of continuity within the EP, but also that Lawrie has the underlying potential to go in many directions. But it is this style, touching and emotive, that is offered forward here as his strongpoint, with grumbling vocals, lone guitar and violin. It is a shame the rest of the original material does not follow suit. The cover of Loudon Wainwright III’s ‘Motel Blues’ proves that Lawrie’s strengths lie within the folk/acoustic market. Although not an original, the song choice fits perfectly within his talent range, showcasing what is beautiful and special within. It would be lovely to see this route followed, rather than the apparent experimentation within the earlier tracks. The EP is, overall, pleasant. Yet it has the distinct feeling of someone still finding a distinct voice, a signature that you can immediately recognise as unique and their own, which is a possible reason for the variation between the three original tracks. Maybe he will find it in his forthcoming full length album? Photobucket