4. or Docklands is the musical project of 22-year-old Jack Coleman, and precision from disorder is crucial to an understanding of the strengths of his debut Come // Close EP. This is a collection of five crisp glitch-folk tracks that highlight Coleman’s song writing chops, as he uses a bricolage approach to melding his influences into an aural patchwork that is both familiar yet fresh. As songs fade away all too quickly or transmogrify splendidly away from their origins, you get the feeling that there are a lot of ideas being crammed into these all too short songs.
There is a haunted, ethereal feel to many of the tracks here, but the spirit of the tunes is too life affirming to be melancholic. “A Spear to the Chest” twists and turns from its introspective spoken-word vocal delivery with whirling guitar and swirling keyboard lines, before thumping into a Neutral Milk Hotel infused thumper of an ending.
“Drawn to the Pier; Pulled From the Lake” has echoes of Jeff Buckley at his most vocally sanguine, with shimmering lyrics drifting in and out of frame to create a hazy nostalgic feel for something that never truly existed.
4. or Docklands (Coleman is very clear about the three spaces after the 4., although WordPress doesn’t seem to want to allow it) combines studio tricks with heart-on-sleeve song writing to heighten the sense of craft in the songs rather than cloak them in gimmicks. Ambient drone soundscapes and alt-folk merge to make you think of Joni Mitchell collaborating with Broadcast – and who wouldn’t want to listen to that?
The Come // Close EP is out via THE RUDDER and available to listen to now – do your ears a favour: