This isn't a grand metaphor Flynn's harnessed for irony though; it's the ultimately undercooked taste of this batch of promising songs.
The grief isn't with the format. EP's are usually just leftovers from the last album or rough strokes for an upcoming full-length. With four incipient tracks, Sweet William holds fast for the latter tradition.
The work is no doubt evocative though. The cuts still hit all of Flynn's high-notes: his accented croon sails effortlessly across antiqued plucky finger-picking ("Sweet William"); lyrics drip from his lips with the grace and romance of a poet ("The Mountain Is Burning"); and his backing band swoons equal parts rosy inspiration and threatening dread ("The Drum")--crafting each song like a harrowing journey. But for such an intuitive songwriter, Flynn's collection lacks the sly kick of his characteristic spirit; much of the material just punching in for work.
At the very least, the EP's a provocative creative insight. Following Flynn's evolution during his art's adolescence--from his playful, ornate wordplay to his one-off experiments with song structure or narrative--illuminates talents that hid nervously in the shadows of his debut "A Larum." It's also encouraging that he's trying on fresh styles and chasing after new muses, however tentative the attempts may be.
Flynn's still finding his footing while trying to map his course. Chin up, lad. Do it once more with vigor!
Watch Johnny Flynn play "The Mountain Is Burning" off his new release, the Sweet William EP