WATERMEDOWN – ‘Somewhere Sleepless’ Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Johnny Mays has brought forth an EP that combines the lyrical sharpness of any emotional wreck with the raw urgency of Conor Oberst. Somewhere Sleepless packs forth everything a fan of distressed singer/songwriter needs in a release. WATERMEDOWN is the monicker that Mays has chosen for his project, and I hope he doesn’t water anything from this down in the near future.

The best part of each of the five tracks on this short 15 minute experience is Mays ability to shift his vocal approach when need be. His wiry whispers can explode into a visceral shout whenever he commands it, giving his music a desperation that can keep listeners running back for more. It’s an EP packed to the top full of gut wrenching lyrics about worry, death and how hard it is to keep pushing forward. This is showcased by lines such as, “I think I’d rather drown,” (‘Exposure’) and “I’d rather have them bury me alive. They say I don’t deserve anything; I guess that’s why you’re leaving me to die” (‘Bragging Rights’). The instrumentals backing him feature bright but rarely distorted guitar chords that often times syncopate in a breakdown with the drums, painting a picture behind Mays’ dire vocal delivery. In this picture is a kid, wretched and helpless on the floor crying out for someone to help him.

WATERMEDOWN is just getting started. The youthful vigor can be heard in the reckless energy of the EP. Somewhere Sleepless is the flowing stream of conscious from the mind of a young musician who is ready to take on the world. Expect this name to continue rolling through our heads in the next few years, I can’t wait to see what he will be diving into next. Stream the EP below, courtesy of Equal Vision Records. 

Score: 7.5/10