‘What I’ve Been Promising’ is the opening track from Myles McCormack’s second full length album, ‘To Better All Things’, due for release this coming January. It is stark and captivating, lurching forward with an unpredictable groove bouncing off deft but subtle fingerstyle guitar and intimate hand percussion. Deceptively complex rhythms lend character to the track which bubbles with intensity. The song takes a unique approach with its lyrics, as it explores social pressures to present a positive image and communication breakdowns within relationships.
At around the halfway mark much of the tension is let loose with the introduction of atmospheric electric guitars, synths and developing drum patterns. At this point it becomes clear this is not your typical singer-songwriter record. Ending with a slightly chaotic passage of swirling cymbals and impassioned vocals, it sets the tone for an intriguing album which allows Myles’ many influences to shine through.
The track, co-produced with Ben McAuley, began life in a small writing room upstairs in the Oh Yeah Centre (Belfast), with drums (Conor McAuley) and some other layers being added in studios and at home during the making of the album. A similar process was taken across the record. Much of the music was recorded and mixed at home, with a combination of location and studio sessions used to balance intimacy with a sense of scale.
“I wanted this track to feel a bit off-kilter as it was inspired by peoples’ struggles with communication, but the intention is to lead towards optimism and self-betterment so it gradually becomes more groovy and eventually ends in a much more cathartic place. It is an illustration of an emotional journey; the struggle for deeper connection in an increasingly digital world and the deteriorating mental health that goes with that. So, if it feels uneasy at times that is all absolutely intentional”.
The accompanying artwork is a striking photograph by Belfast / London based artist Katherine Penney, which shows a beautiful array of colour and detail emerging from a rusted and damaged piece of metal in Belfast. The album artwork itself is a continuation of this concept, which promises to reveal more of ‘the bigger picture’.
The emotions can be heard in McCormack's vocal as well in the accompanying guitar. There's an essence of darkness within the bluesy melody but also a hint of the light that things can always improve.
"I think this year I’m startin’ to walk it off
I think this year I’m learnin’ to fall in love"
Artwork: Katherine Penney