Torquay-based singer and guitarist Josh May is known around the area for being the guitarist in the indie-rock band The Kaizens with fellow band members Tom Bushin, Sam Swann and Jordan Tidball, who have recently released new singles French Kiss and Left Hand Side. The band is well known across the South West, so Josh already had an audience ready to listen when he branched out into solo work, releasing his own new single Understand. While it takes on a new sound when compared to The Kaizens’ music, it still manages to represent him as an artist well.
The single was released on May 23rd on Soundcloud and Josh is hoping to release it on Spotify in the near future. It’s definitely one to check out when you have a spare minute! I have known and worked with Josh for a few years now, and his new track really plays to his own music taste and his personal style really effectively. His audience definitely won’t be disappointed by the new direction his single has taken. Anyone who is a fan of The Kaizens and has seen them live will know Josh’s normal level of energy on stage and might be surprised by the sudden change. The way the single has been produced really makes the change of pace work well despite the difference in genre.
The single has a nice, chilled-out opening that gives off some serious 1975 vibes. The track is layered up nicely, starting off minimal before the drums increase, strengthening the base of the track. Even with the layering up of the track, the relaxed feel of the single isn't compromised and the sound remains totally unique. The softer, more distant effect on the vocals really aids this aspect of the track and helps it to feel slightly separated from reality, and from the common tones of the genre which makes the vocals feel more like an instrument than a leading part of the single and has a really nice effect.
Understand is an all-around good tune. Whether you’re listening in the car, have it playing in the background while studying or working, or you’re just listening in general, the tune is there and is easy to listen to while you’re doing something else. The experimental feel and focus on the instrumental side of the track make it a good late-night tune that you can imagine hearing a group of people listening to in the evening.
When I spoke to Josh, he told me that the song itself is about “an internalised struggle with shame and guilt” which really comes across in the mood of the song well. The track is also playing off of the differences between the expectation and reality of what people think of and feel about themselves whilst it questions social and emotional identity. Josh told me that the single provided a way of helping him through a hard time, which I think it can do for a lot of other people too.
This is definitely a single to check out if you haven't already! Make sure to keep an eye out for any new releases coming from Josh, and his band The Kaizens too! Once the restrictions in the UK have lifted further, I highly recommend getting to one of their shows too, you definitely won’t regret it and they’re definitely not a band to miss! Check out Understand on Soundcloud when you have a free minute it's a hundred per cent worth it!
Words by Chloe Pollard.