Singer-songwriter Eric Paslay released his self-titled debut album back in 2014. The album launched three hit singles – Friday Night, Song About a Girl and She Don’t Love You. Fans have been eagerly awaiting a follow-up but for his recent UK tour, Paslay repackaged his debut album with The Work Tapes, a bonus 5-track CD.
I’ll be focussing most of this review on The Work Tapes but first I’ll briefly talk about Paslay’s debut album. It’s a solid debut for Paslay and it really feels like he could be on the edge of crossing into the big time. Friday Night, which has been the album’s biggest hit, is one of the fun tracks on the album that hits several Country music clichés but it’s so infectious you don’t really care. For me, it’s not one of the best songs here and there’s much more to Paslay than that song.
His vocal on the ballad Less Than Whole really shows his range while the Shane McAnally Country Side of Heaven embraces traditional Country for one of the purest moments on the album. She Don’t Love You, which was the album’s final single, is a gorgeous ballad that showcases Paslay’s sensitive and tender side. Some of the songs on the record fall into the average category in that they’ll never change the world but you’re unlikely to skip them either.
The Work Tapes features raw versions of 5 songs, only one of which actually appears on Paslay’s debut. The EP opens with Less Than Whole, a song that sounds even better in acoustic form. Amarillo Rain really puts the spotlight on Paslay’s voice away from the polished production of his debut album. He packs plenty of passion and emotion into his vocal and it shines brightly on this track.
Elsewhere on the EP Back Home to You has the makings of a radio hit and Come Back to This Town injects a soulful melody into Paslay’s sound. The best moment comes on the final track Let Go, which is a tale of heartbreak and moving on. Paslay’s voice sounds fantastic on the track and I hope one day we hear a studio version of the track as it deserves to be a single.
Repackaging Eric Paslay with The Work Tapes was a smart move. As we cross our fingers that 2018 brings a new album, The Work Tapes offers a nice little fix of new music. I’m inclined to say that Paslay sounds better when he’s in an acoustic setting and the storytelling of his songwriting has more room to breathe. Let’s hope that his next album takes a rawer and more organic approach.
Track listing: Eric Paslay 1. Keep On Fallin’ 2. Friday Night 3. Less Than Whole 4. Country Side of Heaven 5. Never Really Wanted 6. Here Comes Love 7. Like a Song 8. Good with Wine 9. She Don’t Love You 10. Song About a Girl 11. Deep as it is Wide The Work Tapes 1. Less Than Whole 2. Amarillo Rain 3. Back Home to You 4. Come Back to This Town 5. Let Go Record label: Humphead Release date: 13th October 2017