A big part of what draws me to support up-and-coming artists is the chance to see a work in progress. In a way it feels like reading the first draft of a story and having your future favourite character leap off the page for the first time, or getting a glimpse behind the scenes of a film in production before it hits the big screen and seeing how all the pieces come together. There’s an inherent joy in seeing the spark of an idea begin to take shape and form into something great. As far as music is concerned, hearing those first singles, those explorative early EPs, the build-up to a debut album where an artist finds both their sound and their confidence, is endlessly endearing. Often hearing a record that’s rough around the edges, but has heaps of promise and personality, feels far more rewarding than a fully polished product. A notepad full of scribbles says a lot more about a person than some aloof CV. And I’m Still Thinking About That, the debut EP from Minnesotan singer/songwriter Ber, is the most heart-melting example of this that I’ve heard in a good while.
This fusion of folk and electronics, full of endearing little imperfections, feels like a collection of demos in the best possible sense. The occasional snippets of studio chatter left in, the playful way it flirts with different styles, the way each track offers you just a brief taste and leaves you wanting more. It has all the charm and openness of a friend sharing their sketchbook with you. That personal touch, that intimacy, really lends itself to the kind of raw and sincere heartbreak balladry found within. The bittersweet melodies of ‘Bad For Me’ weave a tale of falling for the idea of someone rather than who they really are, while the struggle to find that special spark is explored in the delightfully quirky bossa nova style of ‘I’m Not In Love’.
‘Feels So Easy’ has a happier ending, capturing the peace of falling into a relationship that feels natural and uncomplicated with its warm West Coast vibes, while ‘Same Effect’ immediately grabs you with its killer opening line (“My therapist told me that I think too much, And I’m still thinking about that“) before Ber’s impassioned vocals on the chorus seal the deal on winning your heart. But it’s ‘Meant To Be’ that first led me here; and that delightful duet, depicting a perfect partnership sadly running its course, remains my highlight. It’s the diamond in the rough that most assures me this EP is the start of something special. This musical sketchbook hints at a future masterpiece, but beyond that these rough sketches have an indelible charm all their own.
Fans of Gabrielle Aplin, Holly Humberstone, Billie Eilish and All The Luck In The World should check out Ber’s debut EP And I’m Still Thinking About That.