New Band Of The Day #18: Participant


Latest EP Content is out now.

Who:  Stephen Tiernan

What: Alternative singer/songwriter (FFO: Thom Yorke, James Blake, SOAK)

Where: Dublin, Ireland.

Why: The music of Participant is some of the most emotionally honest and melodically rich music that we have heard in the last couple of years. Tiernan’s voice is one of understated feeling. There are no histrionics or octave stretching pissing contests here, just raw and unadorned candour. Both his EPs released so far, Bit Slow and Content, are brimming with explorations that are filled with odd beats, synths, and delicate guitar. However, these are consistently used in service of each track, rather in lieu of memorable songs.

‘Your Better’, the latest single to be released from Participant’s most recent EP, Content, is a case in point. This time around, it’s just Tiernan and a softly plucked electric guitar. Coming across like a more subtle version of Glen Hansard, the song explores, “family, love, rejection and it’s consequences, framed as a failing romance. Yet, if you look past the sadness, it has an undercurrent of selfishness too, which I can’t shy away from” according to Tiernan. It’s a decidedly vulnerable track, the simplicity of which allows it to reach a level of depth that is quite elusive for many musicians.

The rather melancholy and beautiful video, directed by Bob Gallagher (Girl Band / SOAK / Saint Sister), that accompanies the song explores the track further depicting the complications of sexuality and the heartbreak, regret, and selfishness of a declining romance. It is stunning.

Grab Content via Bandcamp. Watch the video for latest single ‘Your Better’ below, and Overblown favourite ‘Shelter’, which features a romance between two snails, below that.

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