Review- “Starting as People”- Giant Hand

reviewed by Michael

Giant Hand is on a roll. Okay, that’s a bit of a strange image. Moving on.

Kirk Ramsay, the Ottawa musician behind the name, has proven that a guy with a guitar can be unique. And he’s also proven that he can be quite emotionally piercing. The EP was recorded with Rolf Klausener of The Acorn, with Klausener contributing several instruments for the songs.

Starting as People, a mere six songs (one of the tracks is 42 seconds of presumably Ramsay going to a building and unlocking a door), gives voice to the emotional state one is in when they’re on the border between giving up a fight or continuing to battle. Ramsay’s warbling vocals sound like proclamations, almost like monologues.

He also makes very effective use of the few instruments backing him up. Ramsay himself plays simple chord progressions and picks strings elegantly, providing an extra layer of beauty to his ethereal, often haunting songs. His song “Bones Are My Home” sound like something Chad VanGaalen might have come up with.

The five song with vocals also show what an amazing songwriter Ramsay is. Each and every song is bursting with imagery, particularly the opening song, “Starting as People II.” Ramsay sings “All the plains in Alberta never looked so small as I held your hand.” He later says “I’ve got a lot of soul in this soul-less body.” He says, somewhat ironically, in “Another Step Down”: “People say I’m mentally sound but I can’t hear a damn thing.”

With “Books” Ramsay narrates the song from the point of view of a child who loves to do nothing but read when he’s supposed to be sleeping. This one is so vivid it should immediately hit home with listeners.

Finally, “Solemn Little Row” moves from proclamations to pure gloom. Here you can hear the eerie lines “Lock up your kids ’cause jackals love the night/And this tiny soldier won’t go without a fight/His arms are raised and his eyes are glaring white/That’s me as a kid, maybe God is right.” Combined with the depressing guitar chords, this song will make even the happiest person depressed.

This EP should deeply strike the hearts of its listeners. Not many songwriters can cut this deep with just guitar and nice lyrics, but Ramsay definitely can.

Starting as People will be available tomorrow, March 15.

Top Tracks: “Starting as People II”; “Another Step Down”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*

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