Single of the Week: The Dawdler  – Get Zen review

by Phil Scarisbrick

The Dawdler’s 2020 EP, Sign Of Growth, was a melodically rich collection with wry lyrics that managed to convey a British sensibility while providing a lightness of touch that welcomed all listeners in. In the intervening period, John Edgar has seen a deterioration in his health –  resulting in a diagnosis of PPMS (Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis) – which has fed directly into the new material. Preceding the release of new EP, Pursed Modern, in July, Edgar has released a first glimpse with new single, Get Zen.

Those familiar with previous The Dawdler releases will find a welcome familiarity in the song, but with a darker outlook coloured by his health issues. A middle finger to the wellness grifters and homeopathic shysters that sell a vision of how you should try and deal with chronic illness, Get Zen unveils how he chose to deal with his diagnosis. Light key strokes provide the sonic bedrock, before being joined by swells of strings as Edgar sings, ‘When I drink I don’t do it for anyone / But my inner demon that kicks me / When it’s too late I’ll feel all my terror go.’

The juxtaposition of beautiful melodies servicing dark lyrics is nothing new, but when you know the backstory behind the artist’s choices, it never fails to pack a punch. Edgar’s ability to create these wonderful vignettes, while processing the odds stacked against him, is deeply impressive, and only builds the anticipation for the full EP more.

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