The title track Eton Mess is the heaviest song on the EP; with complex guitar solos, reminiscent of classic rock, this track displays great instrumental talent from the offset. The contrast of this guitar sound and relatively chilled out vocals creates the impression that the overtly ‘cool’ masculine attitude which is often dripping from any band which plays this type of guitar music, is not necessarily shared by Stillman. This may be conjecture, but the fact that he is essentially a one man band with the appearance of a pretty laid back, arty-type, I think that it’s safe to say this project is a labour of love, not a quest for cool. The second track Soon Enough is a complete change in tone and style. It rides off the back of the former track with a steady synth and light acoustic guitar and then crescendos to quite a funky acoustic breakdown towards the end. This song is definitely the most delicate on the album; I liked the fact that because of the thinner texture of this track we are able to hear the slight accent of the vocals which makes the song more of an intimate listening experience. The third track, Grit & Blood, is an interesting one because it seems to have a number of influences, all of which I can’t quite put my finger on. The whole song sounds slightly psychedelic, but towards the end more classic rock influences can be heard with beautiful wailing guitar. Don’t get me wrong, I am not known for my love of guitar masturbation, but all of the little solos in this song sound appropriate somehow. The final track, The Rat’s Tale, opens with a tin whistle and acoustic guitar and finishes with a lovely little melody which ushers the listener back down to earth from this interesting, varied EP.
From the confident opening to the calm closer, what I gathered from this EP is that each track is an exploration of many different genres by a very talented musician and songwriter. After the trouble which Stillman has experienced with former record label TRL, I think this EP should garner some more label attention, but if not, I bet he will continue to make music regardless of who is listening.