My Love | Wayne A Halifax

“… introspective, emotional songs, carried out with class and panache”

With his EP, ‘My Love’, Wayne Andrew Halifax is eager to freshen up what some may see as the staid and over-approximated genre of “easy listening” music, choosing to infuse the genre with a range of interesting musical accompaniments and overlaying them with the dripping charisma of his voice. At a cursory glance, Wayne’s vocal delivery may seem laid-back and casual, although the emotional turmoil tucked beneath his stately sense of phrasing is palpable to the listener. Some may favourably compare his nuanced vocal style to the American crooner Chris Isaak; however, such comparisons will ultimately prove futile, as it’s clear that Wayne is his own man who can only follow his own unique compulsions as an artist.

The songs take the crooner genre into uncharted territory, and we have here a collection which are more atmospheric than your typical easy listening fare. Specifically, the EP features the distinct Celtic sounds of mandolins and cello accompaniments which provide a pastoral dimension, masterfully subverting the slick associations of the genre and providing something unique. With Wayne’s deep set drawl, slick is most certainly the word, although these folky musical touches add a further edge to the proceedings, re-contextualising Wayne’s voice in the process. While there are no traces of a distinct Irish or Scottish lilt imbued within his voice, a sincere love of world music shines through on these eclectic recordings.

‘My Love’ opens the EP, featuring some clever lyrics which probe the poles between sexual lust and romantic love. Wayne questions his feelings with the clarity of an existentialist poet, as he sings “do I really need to be with you?, or is it just a sex attraction?”. Despite these intellectual themes, the music, on the other hand, is deeply affecting, aiming straight for the heart. Aided by the lyrical prowess of punk poet Billie Reid, who provided the words and much of the direction for the EP, Wayne carries the show with his stately voice and grand sense of melancholy. Have you ever heard sadness sound so rich, so aristocratically powerful, yet simultaneous so resigned? The emotional juxtapositions of these songs is jarring.

‘Love Song 612’ is a slowly unwinding travelogue which traces a weary journey of the heart through the form of an affecting love song. Mournful cellos meld with Wayne’s sombre vocals as he documents a lonely stroll through a world of romantic contemplation. The song opens with a refreshingly honest lyrical couplet, typifying a love which proves difficult to purely encapsulate through words alone: “… I’ve tired a thousand times to write a song for you, but I can never seem to find the perfect words …”. There’s a sense of threat in the song, of a sense that the love that Wayne so poetically describes could indeed one day slip away through the sheer overwhelming feeling of the emotion itself, and of the blissful passivity that true love can only deign to inspire. The title track closes the EP, reinforcing the stylistic quirks of the previous two songs while providing a perfect summary as a lyrical end game. “… are you a dreamer too? …”, Wayne wistfully sings, wonderfully encapsulating the dream-world-made-reality that every idealistic artist seeks to find.

These are thoughtful, introspective songs carried out with real class and panache. These songs are quietly emotional, choosing to smoulder away at the listener by degrees, rather than relying on increased dynamics and tacky musical turns of phrase. With his vocal talent and emotional intuitiveness as an artist, Wayne A Halifax has interpreted them perfectly.

Liam Allen