Stream: Joshua Burnside blends tradition with modern on “Tunnels pt.2”

Tunnels pt.2Northern Irish newcomer Joshua Burnside has shared "Tunnels pt.2", the lead single from his forthcoming debut album, Ephrata.

Blending modern electronics and contemporary concerns with fiery vocals and a firm footing in Irish folk, Burnside confidently mixes the synthetic with the traditional.

"Tunnels pt.2" is a lament on the addictive nature of technology and its potential to distance and disconnect, despite being a tool to bring people together.

The track opens with an urgent synth loop, making way for an immense drumbeat gradually overlaid with beautifully harmonised vocals. Burnside says of recording the song: "At first the guitar tone reminded us of Grizzly Bear, but once we started messing around with other tones and sounds, layering fingerpicking high on the fretboard with short stabby chops lower down, it became something entirely unique."

Joshua Burnside’s debut album Ephrata was written in a burst of a few weeks whilst living in northern Colombia, the songs on the album deal with a diverse range of themes, from PTSD and technophobia to larger questions about time, love and death in the modern age. The influences of his Irish background and his love of Gothic folk Americana has brought him fans both in the UK and America. Ephrata is the name of a small town in Pennsylvania, nodding to the transatlantic connection. Burnside visited Ephrata whilst on tour a few years ago, when a nearby market burnt down on the first night he was there and fire engines drove past all night. He explains his state of mind whilst writing the title track: "I was going in between dreaming and being awake, having apocalyptic dreams. The song uses synths and upbeat Colombian rhythms to contrast the dark lyrical themes."

A multi-instrumentalist, Burnside played most of the sounds on the album but was also joined by a number of collaborators and producers including his brother Connor on drums and percussion, electronic solo artist Rachael Boyd on violin and synths, Clark Phillips on bass and Sarah Martin on trumpet.

Burnside’s contemporary influences include bands such as Sun Kil Moon, Dirty Three, The Books and The Microphones, but this year has also found himself listening to a variety of old tapes, with the incongruous mixture of Dick Gaughan, Talking Heads, Toto La Mompasina and The Cure creeping into his own sound.

Ephrata is out 5th May 2017 on Quiet Arch Records.

Find out more about Joshua Burnside on Facebook and listen to "Tunnels pt.2" below:

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