Irish singer/songwriter Dylan E. Crampton sets a high bar with his self-titled debut EP, beating to the tune of his own drum on a four-track record that grooves and bops with spirited energy, dazzling melodies, and fresh folk-pop charm.
Stream: ‘Dylan E. Crampton’ EP – Dylan E. Crampton’s
Dylan E. Crampton’s debut EP starts with an exciting crash boom bang, and only escalates from there. “When I’m sad, I put on songs that my dad and my mom wrote when I was small,” the Irish singer/songwriter shares in the opening moments of his song “When I’m Sad.” A flurry of guitars surround his expressive harmonies, and all of a sudden this intimate admission becomes so much more than the sum of its parts: Never one to stay still for too long, Crampton transforms his heartfelt outpouring into something of a fun, joyous musical escapade complete with Beatles-esque warmth and nuance, rockabilly guitar riffs, various tempo changes, and a whole lotta feel-good verve. It’s a great introduction to an artist who has been stomping around, slowly making a name for himself these past two years, and a fantastic opener to an EP that will just knock your socks off.
Independently released May 1, 2020, Dylan E. Crampton captures the natural talent of its namesake, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter in the Dublin scene who beats to the tune of his own drum. Taking after some of rock and folk’s greats, Crampton makes storytelling music that grooves and bops with spirited energy – he lists the likes of Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, and Steve Earle as inspirations, and he certainly lives us to these greats with heavily ’60s/early ’70s sounds.
If you played this record and told me it was released in 1975, I’d believe you – it’s guitar-based rock, harmony-focused folk, melodically buoyant, lyric-driven singing. The mere fact that it’s a fresh 2020 release speaks to Crampton’s musical ingenuity; he’s the kind of artist that both fits and breaks all molds, even within his own four-track offering: EP closer “Oh Penelope!” makes a feverish foray into gritty electric guitar work and brazen chorus outpourings, whereas the preceding “Pretty Clothes” makes for something of an upbeat, acoustic ’60s folk-pop lullaby. Mesmerizing and immersive, no two Dylan E. Crampton songs are alike. Each track is its own distinct world – a quality that simply does not apply to 99% of the artists we know – in fact, we invite readers to help us think of more artists (perhaps Led Zeppelin?) who never made the same song twice.
“Music gets me through a lot of things in life, be they good, bad or indifferent,” Crampton shared upon his EP’s release. “I hope that these songs connect with people and bring them some joy. I love songwriting, in particular, I love when songs twist and turn in unexpected ways. Maybe it’s partly to do with our shorter attention spans, but this is definitely something that has crept into my songwriting style which I feel is showcased well with these four songs.”
He continues, “This was my first time to record in a professional studio, as up to this point, I have recorded everything at home. I recorded the EP in Beechpark Studios with Daire Winston and all the instruments are played by myself and my brother. It was really wonderful to have access to things like a Hammond organ and a lovely recording space.”
A brief jaunt down Crampton’s discography finds him reveling in a heavy, hard-hitting rocker on 2018’s debut single “Jimmy & Cecil,” and following that up with a fun percussive indulgence in the sweet, harmony-laden “Sugar.” His track “Irish Sea” further highlights his classic rock roots, with a wily electric guitar leading the way up mountains and around valleys of sound.
By the time one gets to 2020’s self-titled EP, it’s hard not to have tremendous respect for this young talent. The four-track experience he has cultivated in Dylan E. Crampton is a fresh cup of creative genius, serving as one of 2020’s most exciting introductions to an artist we cannot wait to hear more from in the years to come. This is the kind of EP you turn on and sink into; its songs, each its own living, breathing thing, grant us the opportunity to tune out and float for a while. What you do with that moment’s escape is up to you – but just to have that second out of the everyday is a blessing in and of itself.
Experience the full record via the below stream, and peek inside Dylan E. Crampton’s self-titled record with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his debut EP!
Stream: ‘Dylan E. Crampton’ EP – Dylan E. Crampton’s
:: Inside Dylan E. Crampton ::
When I’m Sad
“When I’m Sad” began as two separate songs that I merged together to make one complete song. The tempo change in the middle sort of highlights this! I had these two ideas that I really liked but I was finding it hard to finish them and they both happened to be in the key of ‘A’ so I thought ‘what the hell’ – let’s stick them together and it seemed to work! It’s quite a personal song for me because it hints at my parents break up when I was younger and also my struggles with anxiety. It still manages to be quite an upbeat tune though! It’s kind of a sad song disguised as a happy song.The subtle bits of Hammond organ on this track sums up that happy/sad feeling for me when I listen to it.
On & On
“On & On” was very much a collaboration in terms of the writing of the song. Elliot and I wrote it around our Mother’s kitchen table – always my location of choice when I feel like getting creative. It’s a very musical song because there are actually more music parts in it than vocal parts We had a lot of fun recording this one. Elliot and I had been listening to Vampire Weekends‘ latest album and he really took inspiration from that in terms of producing this song. A good example of this is his use of percussion like the cowbell and tambourine hits on the offbeat. We used an array of guitars on this one too. It was fun recording the classical guitar licks in the ‘on and on’s‘ section.
“Pretty Clothes” is a favourite of mine on the EP. I had the main guitar hook for this track for a long time before I turned it into a song. The melody of the vocal pretty much follows the guitar parts, in the verses anyway. I love finger-picking and so this song is a really fun one to play. I also love harmonies and this song is full of them as are the other 3 tracks. I always think of this song as a romantic – french sounding song but I think Ell’s bass and drums give it a country/ barn dance kind of vibe too. I think it’s a warm and cosy little love song and I happen to be a sucker ‘silly love songs’.
“Oh Penelope” is the final and the rockiest/ raucous track on the EP. This song began as a hooky bluesy riff that Ell was playing around with. We used to jam this out a lot in our home studio with me on guitar and Ell on the drums. It was a tune we really enjoyed jamming for fun and eventually, we both turned it into a full song. Once again I am responsible for the tempo change in this song This was a really fun track to record. Ell and I recorded our guitar parts and our harmony vocals at the same time to give it a kind of ‘live’ feel. We snook in some glockenspiel on all the tracks on this EP and ‘Oh Penelope’ was no exception – a pretty tricky instrument to record I discovered….but good fun!
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📸 © Hannah Cosgrove artwork © Elliot Crampton
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