With only five tracks, Justin McRobert's Everything Has Changed EP may look small in scope compared to his ambitious CMYK project, but this compact EP has a lot of character. This EP finds the California-based artist using stripped-down instruments to create a full acoustic sound, an ideal musical landscape for McRoberts' strong vocals and down-to-earth songwriting.
"Everything Has Changed" is a fun acoustic guitar driven song that serves as the perfect introduction to the EP's theme of change. This title-track is an intriguing 10-thousand-foot view of the changes McRoberts has experienced in his life. Similarly upbeat, "Do You Remember" is the most musically cheerful song on the album with a bright acoustic guitar and up-tempo drum beat. The song, inspired by Glen Phillips' "Fred Meyer," is a about having a less selfish worldview, specifically regarding what we do with our money and how we treat those around us. The songwriting gets even weightier with "I Know You're That Way, Too" which is about a close friend that has gone down a destructive path. McRoberts, who is trying to figure out his role in his friend's life, is heartbroken about the direction his friend has gone, but is hopeful that he can find his way back to Christ. With a nearly constant banjo presence, it's the only obviously folksy song on the EP. Reminiscing on a sinful romantic relationship from his teenage years, "Candles and Kerosene" is just as emotional--particularly when he belts out: "Oh how I wish I had those days back now, when I chased you down with my lover's pain." The acoustic guitar, steady percussion, and airy electric guitar help create the song's aching introspective quality. Rounding out the album, "Just Like You Said" is the longest and slowest song present. Though there isn't much that stands out about this song, it is a graceful and hopeful way to close out the EP.
McRoberts has crafted a great example of what good singer-songwriter music often looks like: reflective and vulnerable lyrics that tell a story within a framework of creative yet simplistic musical arrangements. If you are a fan of the genre or any of his previous works, don't hesitate to pick up a copy of Everything Has Changed.
- Review date: 8/24/15, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com