The odds are anyone who has found themselves at a night of good music on Ngunnawal land has come across the effervescent presence of The Burley Griffin songwriter and lead singer Evan. Evan is truly one of the nicest people I have had the good pleasure to meet and call friend and in the time I have gotten to know them I have learned that not only is Evan full of energy and light and joy but the waters run deep, Evan is considerate, thinks deeply about things and is kind and generous, just like The Burley Griffin’s latest single Hong Kong.
After a two-track released in 2020, Hong Kong is the next exciting step toward album number 3, and to me we can see some really exciting progressions from the artist leading into the next big release. Most of my experience seeing The Burley Griffin live is in the solo context, Evan playing acoustic and playing those beautiful songs but the thing I have always loved about the band is that the full band recordings are not drastically different but do add another dimension to the work. On this release, I feel like the two dimensions have joined in a beautiful symphony of performance, song writing and production.
The song opens with just Evan and a guitar, drawing listeners in, enticing us with a beautiful melody sharing an intimate memory. The build from the band in this opening section is emblematic of the growth of the group, focusing on the dynamic effect of each instrument to get maximal impact in service of the song. The inclusion of some extra instrumentation with the addition of a violin part is a lovely touch that gives the track a real modern folk aesthetic. Evan is a master of harmony and melody writing and performing and that is abundantly clear on this track, the layered vocals carrying so much of the song in such a clear and beautiful way.
Not only is the song great but there is an incredible music video that adds to the story of the song, including shots of Evan playing and singing the track while intercutting footage of what is going on in the lyrics. A personal highlight for me is the fact that the video, while funny and silly at some points, feels very real, Evan is playing a guitar I have seen them play before, in a beautiful sweater I have admired and some trademark Evan dancing that just makes me smile every time I see it.
I am very excited for the full release that The Burley Griffin seems to be working towards. The three songs presented so far have given a broad scope of what the band is capable of and I eagerly anticipate what comes next, looking forward to seeing how together they have turned songs that I am familiar with in the solo context into full band arrangements.