Once heard, we can guarantee Cardiff based singer/songwriter MANTRARAYBRYN will never be forgotten.
Every now and then you come across a voice so mesmerising that they could sing the local phone book and you’d be hooked. Bryn doesn’t do that however, he writes songs which touch at the very core of our emotions – love, loss and passion are at the heart of what he performs.
One listen to his new three-track collection EP ‘Year of the Heron’ and you can appreciate why he is being talked about in ‘the next big thing’ terms. MANTRARAYBRYN AKA Welsh/Cornish solo artist Bryn Evans has signed to Modern Sky UK to release the EP on 16th July. Prior to that, the lead track ‘TANTALUS’ is out right now.
The single casts off the shackles of an unrequited love with a sense of life-affirming liberation. For me, there is a passion in the song which is filled with heart, honesty and an intimacy which you don’t always find in music. To see an artist share their vulnerability like this is both refreshing and relatable. Let’s face it, we’ve all been through those moments when love hasn’t always gone the way we planned or hoped for.
More than that however, the single is just spectacularly good.
Peeling back the layers of “Tantalus”, Mantaraybryn told us:
“After a period of longing for someone I couldn’t be with, Tantalus is the fury at my past self for not being more awake and present. Tantalus as a character in mythology lives with perpetual thirst and hunger, with no relief. I felt like him when taunting myself by still hoping for something with this ex, when it was clear I didn’t have a future with him. The song is rage directed inwardly and then sent out in an explosive song; it needed to sound huge, like how a baroque painting looks, sending listeners running forwards into something clearer.”
Touching on themes of mythology and sexuality, self-exploration and solitude, “Tantalus” is an indicative forecast of what to expect from Mantaraybryn’s incoming new EP.
We put a Zoom call into Mantaraybryn recently at his home in Cardiff. The man we spoke to was not only completely focused on delivering the best music he can, but has a clear love for our venues and playing live, as you’ll hear during the interview.
We talked about his time during lockdown and how important music has been, more than ever. He talks about the creative process behind writing Tantalus, a song which has been in his head for a while now. But we started with Cardiff, a place Bryn studied, works from and now calls home.
The ‘Year of The Heron’ EP is a definitive and personal statement from an artist coming-of-age and coming-out. Marrying lyrics of disarming intimacy to melodies of a blindsiding extravagance, Mantaraybryn invites the listener into a world of his own vibrant definition.
Characterised by his unmistakable vocals, he adds layers of emotional depth to complex narratives that unfold in songs awash with references to nature, history, literature and love. EP opener “Into One Ether” leads the way with an electrifying electro-pop cascade that finds Mantaraybryn sifting through multiple incarnations of himself in the pursuit of happiness.
“It’s about being alone after being with someone, not knowing which version of yourself to present, being with anyone just to not face silence”.
Elsewhere, the more cerebral and reflective “Mayfly” offers nuanced commentary on the short-lived nature of modern dating, where “hopes and conversations sometimes only last hours only to be replaced swiftly by more faces/profiles”.
Elaborating on the recurring themes that flow throughout the EP, Mantrarybryn says…….
“Year of the Heron is really about me digging into my solitude – even though each track has hugely different energy, they all have an undercurrent following this theme… This EP feels like I know myself so much more. It’s me saying “I’m here” and feels like my self appointed coronation. Lyrically, I think it’s my strongest work to date.”
‘Year Of The Heron’ seems to be a bit of a rebirth, a fresh start, a new chapter, call it what you like, for Mantaraybryn. All we know having played it non-stop over the last few weeks is that it’s the beginning of a new journey in pop you won’t want to miss a step of.
You can stream the new single right here – TANTALUS
And you can follow Mantaraybryn on the links below…..