Hayden Calnin’s latest EP showcases the Australian songwriter’s ability to create beautiful soundscapes and pair them with his superlative vocals
ailed as Australia’s answer to Bon Iver, Hayden Calnin has been gathering momentum since a number of his tracks were featured on the American TV show Suits. The release of his new six-track EP Oh, Hunter, written and recorded in his home studio near Victoria, will only hasten his ascendancy with its stark yet engrossing beauty.
Described by Calnin himself as cinematic folk, this EP does more than enough to suggest that this is a unique talent who is just getting started. For now though the comparisons with Bon Iver are fair. Throughout the EP, vocals reach out to be heard over Calnin’s ambient soundscapes. On Coward and I Corrupt in particular he creates an atmosphere that will be familiar to any fans of Justin Vernon.
Thankfully though there is more to be heard and Calnin is no mere copycat. His vocals can be restrained or they can soar, knowing when to remain in the spacious pockets within his songs and when to lift the listener into the sky. “Look at the dirt in my toes and tell me I’m less of a man for leaving you” he sings at the end of Comatose, the conclusion of much soul searching. Calnin’s moment of true greatness comes on Forever A Traveller, a sparse and repetitive lyric floats over a choral backing to create a mesmerising moment.
These six songs showcase Calnin’s ability to write music which is both immediate and able to grow on the listener. It is vivid and soulful, but never cloying, suggesting that a huge future lies in store.
Verdict: The sound of a future great finding their sound