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Austin Willacy - Gonna Be Alright (None More Black Music)

1 March 2024

If pop is the stuff of infectious and immediate engagement and rock something more weighty, often in terms of both musical heft and lyrical poignancy, then Austin Willacy is an artist who effortlessly and deftly dances through both realms. And, not just those, they might often be the core principles found at the heart of the music, but they act more like stepping stones so that he can reach further sonic shores – funk, soul and a few infusions and generic blends of his design.

Gonna Be Alright, an EP title which displays his inherent optimism and generally upbeat outlook on life, is his latest release and across a mere five songs, just one handful, he covers a lot of ground.

There is often a sort of defiance to be found in Austin’s music; he does it in a polite and mannered way, but as the opener “No Apologies” shows, he is not someone willing to compromise or change who he is to accommodate the needs of others. The fact that he chooses to set this declaration to a charging slice of ebullient pop-rock turns such a personal statement of intent into a relatable anthem for all.

From here, he runs through the musical landscape, taking in the soulful and balladic title track, punchy yet poised pop-rock with “I’m Not Gonna Stop” and the gospel-infused gorgeousness of “Better Days Are Gonna Come.” The EP rounds off with a wonderfully reflective tribute to a lost friend, “Saw You In The Light,” a song that comes from a very personal place but such is the song-writing prowess of Austin Willacy that it becomes a universally relatable torch song.

It’s a great EP, a quality quintet, a post-genre masterpiece in pop poise and soulful seductions, of brilliantly underplayed rock groove, and so much more.

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