Hillsburn – Stories (EP Review)


Band: Hillsburn
EP: Stories
Release Date: March 10, 2023
Genre: Indie Pop

Halifax, NS-based four-piece indie-pop band, Hillsburn is made up of Clayton Burrill (vocals/guitar/piano), Rosanna Burrill (vocals/bass/violin), Clare Macdonald (drums), and Jackson Fairfax-Perry (synth). The band has unveiled their latest EP, Stories, a culmination of growth and upheaval, movement and loss, and the sound of something new being forged in the moment.

The six-track EP features previous singles, “Room Across The Hall” and “Truths You Outrun.” It’s easy to see why these two tracks were chosen as the first introductions to the new EP. Both tracks showcase a compelling blend of thoughtful songwriting, emotive vocals, and stellar instrumentation that we’ve come to expect from Hillsburn.

“I Knew The Times Weren’t Perfect – But The Drugs Aren’t Working” beings with a horn-driven intro, which is quickly joined by Rosanna’s expressive vocals. The lyrics of the chorus, “They’re burning books outside, I knew the times weren’t perfect, But the drugs aren’t working, Couldn’t sleep last night,” caught my attention immediately. Although I’m not sure of the story behind the track, I was drawn to thoughts of the pandemic and how it had upset all of our lives. How many of us ended up on medications and dealt with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. This track, although very danceable, holds a lot of emotion. 

The EP closes with “Roslyn,” featuring Clayton’s piano and Rosanna’s violin. “Roslyn” is a powerful, moving experience that highlights Rosanna’s soft emotion-filled vocals. Being the only ballad on the release, “Roslyn” shines in every aspect. The lyrics, “Roslyn, they’ve been saying, That you jumped off the dam, Did you feel joy or sadness, When you only broke your hand?” brought chills over me. 

Overall, Stories showcases not only Hillsburn’s musical talent but also their songwriting expertise. Stories is not only a great introduction to the band for new listeners but also the perfect evolutionary release for fans of the band.

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