Photo Credit: Gaelle Leroyer
Montreal-via-Dubai artist Edwin Raphael returns with his newest EP, Staring at Ceilings. Following the success of his 2019 record Will You Think of Me Later?, Edwin Raphael's latest indie effort features five new tracks, three of which are singles released over the past year. Staring At Ceilings features production from the legendary Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, The National, Local Natives), and together Edwin Raphael presents fans with an existential project examining human nature, and the impact that our own anxieties have on the world around us.
Edwin Raphael's Staring at Ceilings is a beautifully written and performed project whose sounds range from indie, pop, rock, and even electronic at its most hectic moments. Many of the tracks, like "Sea of Things" or "Staring at Ceilings", start out with a minimal and soft acoustic foundation, but progressively evolve into monstrous anthems devoted to vulnerability and the indulgence of the human spirit. Though Staring at Ceilings is admittedly not a 'light' listen, Edwin Raphael pairs incredibly well with NYC pop singer-songwriter Juletta on "Mild Sanity", as the two weave their vocal tracks together over an intimate and sentimental mix. Though many tracks, like "Sea Of Things", are focused on self-reflection and understanding the sheer impotence of the body to seize control of its surroundings, there is still a note of catharsis embedded within Edwin Raphael's languorous vocals. To relinquish control (a concept much easier said than done) is to embrace the entropy of the universe, so perhaps the message of the Montreal singer is not as dejected as it seems at first glance. Edwin Raphael's music is existentially heavy to be sure, but perhaps there is a subtle case for mental liberation through accepting the primordial chaos of life.
For fans of acoustic indie-rock full of swells and meaningful lyrics, Edwin Raphael's Staring at Ceilings is the project for you. If 2020 has put you through enough of a mental rollercoaster, however, you may find yourself putting Edwin Raphael's Staring at Ceilings on the back-burner for now - but there remains an incredible importance in music like this in the times we're living in. Though hopefully fans will not have to wait another two years before another project from Edwin Raphael arrives, when it comes it will be surely worth the wait.