After playing 212 gigs last year, Nottingham’s Josh Kemp released his latest EP, Sofa Surfin’, after doing just that – spending a lot of time sleeping on other people’s furniture. It’s hard to place a genre category on this sort of music; he falls best under the blanket of “acoustic singer-songwriter”.
Sofa Surfin’ begins with a track that seems to focus mostly on the instrumental side of the music, with a simplistic intro giving way to vocals that truly compliment the modesty of the track. At times I felt it would have been more effective to have just one guitar, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the song is beautifully executed, and clearly shows how much Josh is capable of.
The second track, A Little Love, starts with a percussion intro which sounds like it would be a delight to see/hear performed live – and I can vouch for that, after seeing him perform at a festival earlier this year. Towards the end, the vocals are recorded and layered so smoothly that it leaves you in awe that simply one man and his guitar could creation such a sensational track. The Reason, the third track off the EP, feels very stripped back, and could really be described as a typical modern-day folk – or pop-folk – track. There’s a heavier focus on Josh’s phenomenal lyrics, which interweave intricate metaphors and smooth rhymes to form yet another timeless record.
Throughout the EP, I felt very heavily reminded Frank Turner. However, I felt this shone through especially on The Hangover Song, possibly one the cleverest song of off Sofa Surfin’. The vocals seemed particularly excellent, and there’s a nice little interjection from Josh’s “mum”, complaining about his drinking – it’s an all round tune, if nothing else! In contrast, there’s something incredibly heartfelt about the last song off the EP – First and Last. Lyrically, this is superior to the rest of the tracks in my opinion, as the words are stepping back, away from the clichés of typical love songs, and putting how he feels into his own words. Very often when this is done, the result is messy and disorganised, but Josh fits the lyrics together so eloquently that they can’t be anything but the truth.