Apr 08, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
Though EJ Worland was born and raised in Australia, his music instead instantly conjures the style of crooning American soul pioneers. Since relocating to Los Angeles to record his debut, Worland has been steadily sharing singles from his upcoming debut EP No One Left To Blame. At long last, Worland’s debut is now here, premiering early with Under the Radar.
Fans of Worland have already heard the first four songs on the EP but for many others, the record will act as their first introduction to Worland’s vintage style. Fortunately, these tracks work just as well in concert as they do apart. Worland runs through retro-soul stylings with the studied eye of a longtime lover of the genre, yet also does it with enough fiery flair and broad influences to not come off as imitation. The strutting R&B style of “Do Better (Make Me Want To Scream)” calls back to Marvin Gaye while the gorgeous sun-lit melodies of “Over The Pond” bring to mind Sam Cooke. Elsewhere, the instrumentation turns darker on the smoky romanticism of “Drown In You.” But uniting it all is Worland’s impassioned vocals, celestial gospel harmonies, and sweeping string sections.
As much as the passionate vocals and immaculate instrumentation carry the songs, there’s also a powerful sense of purpose running through tracks like “Over The Pond” and “Hard To Find.” First and foremost, No One Left To Blame is a document of Worland’s life, most especially his decision to ignore self-doubt and head to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. As he confesses on “Hard To Find, “Well it’s up to myself/There’s no one left to blame.” In these terms, the record also acts as a testament to its own creation, offering a shining raw honesty and a confident opening chapter to Worland’s story.
Worland says of the EP, “‘No One Left To Blame’ is an EP about awakening to the fact that you cannot fake it until you make it, you have to actually ‘make it, to make it’. And for me the ‘making it’ was creating a recording of my songs. To put it all on the line – no half bets, no waiting for someone else, no blaming others or the system. There’s simply no one left to blame.
Stream No One Left To Blame a day early below.