Patrick McKenna was in a weird place after leaving college. He had an old EP he’d done under the moniker UNOAKED and some demos to finish up. More importantly, he had a sense he needed to do something after spending money and time on a subject he didn’t enjoy.
Cue the release of Sewing Holes, a three-song collection in the making since November of last year. It’s an acoustic, folk, ambient mix that captures the melancholic mood that brought it out.
“Please…let’s get on with it…” is what the voice at the beginning of “sleep” asks, begging to be done with the agony of it all. It’s enough to make you wonder what kind of sleep McKenna is referring to, but then the steady, if not somber, guitar starts up and the direction shifts away from this. The “ohm ba bas” at the end are a definitive change of pace from a song that comes to grips with being left behind.
“martyr” starts out with a folk-heavy tone. McKenna’s slow, ambient and echoing vocals contrast with this as he explains he “needs some time to explore/reasons to stay”. While it may initially seem jarring to have the music and vocals so unlike one another, the way the beat makes you think of journeying sits well with the personal journey the lyrics describe. As the echoes intensify, the journeying turns inwards.
“tailored” comes in as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, striking a chord that’s more optimistic. There’s an acceptance here of the change: “you and I, we’re not the same” as well as a sense of moving forward.
The trouble with college, and many other things, is that it demands you decide. And what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. In McKenna’s case, walking away meant rediscovering something that made him feel good. Sewing Holes is a short EP put together in a Toronto apartment, but in many ways it’s bigger than that. It’s a sign that there’s something here that needs to be explored further—to take this set of songs and see what else can come of it.
Top Track: “tailored”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)