EP REVIEW: Daneshevskaya - Long is the Tunnel
An EP which sparkles but fails to fully land
Returning with her second EP two years after her debut effort and with seven tracks crafted over the course of the past six years, Daneshevskaya’s Long is the Tunnel sparkles yet fails to fully land.
The songwriting project of New York native and resident, Anna Daneshevskaya Beckerman, is blessed with gorgeous vocals, poetic lyrics and carefully crafted arrangements, but the EP feels all too fleeting and, at times, verges into becoming a little twee.
Perhaps the hint of twee is to be expected with Beckerman not only working in a preschool, but crafting songs based on her experiences in this role, leaning into the wide-eyed curiosity associated with being a child. At times, this works in her favour, with earnest lyrics and unfamiliar angles in dealing with subjects such as failing relationships and saying goodbye.
When it works, the results are stunning, with lead single ‘Somewhere in the Middle’ a rock track considering those she has left behind which builds to a dreamy repetition. Opening track, ‘Challenger Deep’, features beautifully plucked acoustic guitar, with Beckerman contemplating the lasting impact of the meetings we make in this life and a chorus enhanced by lush backing vocals as she sings “will you wait for me at the end?”. Based on a book she reads to the children at her preschool about the invisible strings connecting those we say goodbye to, it makes for a lovely backstory and is reminiscent of Jockstrap at their most introverted and spare. ‘Big Bird’ is almost shoegaze-y in its slow rock riff and lyrical observations, and benefits from the turn of pace to something quicker halfway through.
A poetic lyricist - Anna Daneshevskaya Beckerman (Photo credit: Lily Frances)
These three best moments are three of the four singles preceding the EP and it’s telling that they were selected over the rest. The final single, ‘ROY G BIV’, based on the rainbow colours, cleverly considers the illogical ordering of items which gives us a sense of reassurance in this imperfect world, inspired by the colour ordering which reassures the children at Beckerman’s preschool. The violin on this track is stirring but it comes across almost like a nursery rhyme – one example where the child-inspired curiosity driving the EP takes a wrong turn.
Closing track, ‘Ice Pigeon’, sees Beckerman give up on a liar who appears to have enchanted her at one time and deploys smart lyrics over playful piano which skirts with being twee. ‘Bougainvillea’ showcases enjoyable harmonies but is frustratingly light on depth, offering merely a glimpse of the story and song this could be. The melancholy driving the record hits its lowest point with ‘Pink Mold’ which looks back at the end of a relationship and comes across as a slightly dreary sigh of a song.
There’s no doubt that Beckerman is wonderfully talented and an artist to keep an eye on, but with Long is the Tunnel, as suggested in the searching lyrical content, you’re left with a sense of lamenting what could have been.
Long is the Tunnel is out this Friday (10 November) via Winspear