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Officer - Myriads

Artist: Officer
Album: Myriads
Label: Unsigned
Standout Tracks: ‘The Waters’, ‘Glass Ceiling’ ‘My Darling Defibrillator’
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Myriad (a): Having countless or very many elements or aspects” Not quite sure why you’d need to pluralise the word…maybe you’ll come back to me on that one, Logan!

Nick Rouke takes a look at David ‘DC’ Logan’s curiously titled debut album Myriads.

Cast your mind back, fellow music aficionado, to the last (or indeed, any) festival that you graced with the soles of your wellington boots. Rain or shine you’d set about brushing teeth with cider and knocking back painkillers and cans of warm beer in equal measure; finishing by tricking prospective sexual partners back to your tent. “Bad back you say? I’ve got a camp bed in my tent that’ll fix that right up!”
Good times. Crazy times! But I’m really trying to get you to think about the Sunday evenings. Around, or rather exactly at, sunset.

Stood in a field, with a slight breeze on your face and your group has paired off, your arm wrapped around your best friend/lover’s shoulder, taking in the melodic rhythm dancing towards you from that stage you’re not too bothered about getting close to. What are you feeling? Contentment. You’ve found a little spot of solitude. I’ve had this experience a few times now, most recently watching Johnny Marr. The first time was Biffy Clyro’s ‘Many of Horror’.

You don’t forget those moments and it was there that Myriads opener ‘Laughing Rafters’ dragged me by the scruff of the neck, and dug right down to the feels. And I’m not talking about the kind of feels that lady with the bad back was going for – oh no. I’m talking those that emotional stuff, heartstrings and guitar strings both effortlessly plucked by Logan’s propensity to stir up “countless..or many aspects of” emotions (see what I did there) with his music.

Logan’s charming voice brings life and vibrancy to dark lyrics. I couldn’t tell at first if the song had undertones of self-deprecation or anger (in a gentle way); I settled with vexation at something lost that could no longer be found. The haunting wordplay coupled with the instrumental antithesis of soft, melodic drum beats and pragmatic instrumentalism naturally combine to gift us with a truly wonderful opener.

I searched for a good hour for a comparative musical number with which to refer and delight you and…I couldn’t think of one. And that’s a good thing! On the first of many listens I was already thinking “Now then. There’s something a bit different here”.

At this point I hit pause and laid my hands on a glass (bottle) of wine (spiced rum). I was settling in for a couple of hours of dark and stormy fulfillment. I adore unearthing new music so I was having a late one with Officer. And the Gentleman himself is not just remarkably handsome (it must be said) but anthropologically consistent with the name of his debut LP.

David ‘DC’ Logan entered the world in Glasgow, home to Scottish musical behemoths such as Simple Minds and Primal Scream to name a few. Subsequently raised on council estates in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Officer was constituted in London and this well-travelled singer-songwriter doesn’t drop the ball after the first tune as the crowd-funded Myriads kicks on with delightful aplomb.

That’s right – his live performances were so impressive his fan-base discretely crowd-funded his recording project, revealing their gift over a pint in the local. Big up to those guys, it’s going to come back to them in a good way.

Anyway. Back to the music. The opener is and outstanding yet bold approach to a debut album opener, which usually attempts to knock you off your feet rather than sweep you off them. My big question was one of tempo, more specifically: will the album be full of those “Sunday night feel ticklers”? Granted, that aphorism needs a bit of work but in short, the answer is a cheerful “no!”. Whilst in tempo terms the album never hits 100mph, the singles, being ‘Glass Ceiling’, ‘The Waters’ and ‘My Darling Defibrillator’, each vary in stylistic direction. It’s not so much a case of je ne sais quoi though, more “oh hello, I didn’t expect to see you here”. It’s all a little bit unpredictable first time round.

Having to follow ‘Laughing Rafters’ was never going to be easy. And initially I wasn’t keen on ‘Glass Ceiling’. As it happens, I was a damn fool. It’s slightly less accessible, I think, but equally magnificent after a few listens. And more importantly, it takes the album in a positive direction. It’s a little quicker and livelier, which caught me off guard given its intimacy. It also allows Logan early opportunity to showcase some variation, instrumentally and vocally. The writing is penetrating, confirming that lyrically Logan is quite the semanticist. It’s initial brevity unwound by layered purpose, depicting more than a hint of personal experience and emotion. “Glass Ceiling, I can’t break through”…presumably not a reference to Thatcherism…“plaster paris hearts, you’re turning us to cotton wool” suggests we’re listening to a love song.

Listen on, and there’s some underlying tragedy. Maybe that’s just me, but what we can tell is that the tracks on Myriads should be considered beautifully sung artwork, open to a certain amount of interpretation depending on how the words hit you.

Next up, ‘The Waters’, elaborates on this theme of unpredictability by teasing you with a little bit of electro. The song swiftly kicks into double-time, marching into a purposive drumbeat, restless bass and some snappy, assertive lyrics. Logan’s ‘coffee’ has kicked in and we have more pace at just the right time.

Between those two singles though there’s a corker. Not that ‘Can We Talk?’ (which belongs on my Sunday night stage) and ‘One Day’ are bad songs (far from it), but ‘Act of Survival’ is just super.

Assertively plucked clean notes against a backdrop of synth blend into refreshingly fast acoustic sounds and an exuberant drum beat, around which Logan’s voice dances and spirals poetically. Instrumentally this is very much a “feel-good” song, lyrically – not so much. In any event this is one of the tunes that will get a party going, rather than slow it down.

The next single, and Logan’s crowning achievement, ‘My Darling Defibrillator‘, is much grittier. And incredibly powerful. Easily the best portrayal of Logan’s vocal talents, his voice reminiscent of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd as he exerts references to 17th century poetic epics. How deep is this man!? But to be fair if there is a song on this album that Logan should be using as a platform to peacock a bit, it’s this one.

Easily the most accomplished musical piece on the album, as intelligent as it is gripping and as haunting as it is unique, Logan even sniggers to himself at 2:56 – he knows he’s cracked it as the song builds itself up intensely from the bottom to guide you by the hand from a gentle acoustic/piano opening to a dark and hazy chorus and eruptive apotheosis that will leave you breathless.

All of this is being kept together by a commanding drumbeat, but the standout feature has to be the lyrics, and delivery thereof. Here, Logan is absolutely breathtaking. I’ve had this one on repeat for a good week already.

I would love to go on a bit more about the other tracks (in particular DATV, which deserves a brief mention) but ‘Ambulance’ is awarded this some attention because it is simply a fucking brilliant song made up of masterfully chilling songwriting. ‘The Waters’ and this make for the best consecutive pairing on the disc. It’s certainly not the case that the songs I haven’t touched on aren’t noteworthy, but rather overshadowed by the aforementioned.

In a nutshell, this is a refreshing indie album that tells a deep and incisive story of personal connection and relationships through the medium of chilling, haunting and occasionally lively indie pop.

The writing points to a recognition that not every story is without pain or has a happy ending, but does so in a beautiful way. It’s incredibly real, and the extent to which the album will touch you wholly depends on your own personal experiences.

For me, this makes the music special. To flirt with hyperbole, the album is a smelting pot of superb vocals, intelligent songwriting and adept instrumentalism. Myriads is made up of equal measures of talent, hard work, pride, personal experience and Logan’s fans spare cash. It took a few listens to convince me, but after committing Myriads moved me to distraction. It’s well worth your time and I can’t wait to see him live.

Get it down your earholes.

Nick Rouke