Music: Nierra Creek self titled EP – Elegant, open-hearted electronic/folk

Brighton-based duo Nierra Creek have released their debut EP, a self-titled affair bursting with life, passion and honesty.

Prior to release the group – comprising Somerset songwriter Ryan Deag and Swiss producer Sebastian Müller – have made waves within the Brighton music scene with a number of intimate shows, and the release of singles ‘Born a Child’ and ‘Burn Out the Fire’. Now, with the world opening up and a full physical release to their name, Nierra Creek are pushing on.

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the NIERRA CREEK EP is an engaging, urgent lesson in personal bloodletting; a collection of open-hearted self-commentary pieces woven through elegant, visual lyricism.

Commenting on new single ‘Arctic Tern’ Ryan Deag said: “When becoming an adult, there are decisions to be made and realities to face. Comparing our lives to others, questioning how one choice might affect the next, it’s all a distraction from moving forward. We all have the power to direct our lives and choose our own ‘fate’.” 

“Sometimes I let my past and upbringing affect my adult life. I try to acknowledge those moments and learn from them. The whole EP is a comment on that really. Just because you weren’t allowed to eat ice cream every day when you were a kid, doesn’t mean you can’t now. That’s the lighthearted version anyway.”

Whilst the band are nominally placed within the realm of folk/electronica, the four-track release is a more diverse, more intelligent prospect than the genre classification alludes to. Such is the result of a musical duo clearly working to elevate each other’s disparate artistic influence, rather than seeking to find a blasé middle ground.

As example, there is a moment early on in the NIERRA CREEK EP where it all makes perfect sense, where the decision to celebrate, rather than reconcile differences lifts the duo out of prescriptive genre boundaries.

Three minutes in, opener ‘Born a Child’ breaks from its vocoded folk haze into an expansive crash of fuzzy guitars and drum tracks, giving us a faint glimpse of the duo’s full musical capacity before falling gently back into the understated. The track in itself is a perfect introduction to the band as a whole – and the natural choice for a debut single – but it is what happens next that sets Nierra Creek apart. 

As the ode to innocence lost spins to its conclusion it leads effortlessly into an electronic drum track that channels the triplet drive of old garage cuts, and the tight hi-hat lines of lo fi electronica. From this point second single ‘Burn Out the Fire’ bursts into life with delicate harmonies, synth swells, samples, and guitar lines – and it is here that the band comes to life.

From this point the listening experience is transformed – it becomes one of anxious excitement over where the duo are going to go next in a sonic form, as well as just lyrical and emotive.

Without spoiling what is to follow – especially with wonderful new track Arctic Tern – the EP doesn’t let up from these heady heights. The musical and artistic diversity offered through the four-track release is a balm for our currently-restricted existences, and should we be as brave as to look forward, will certainly make for an engaging live show.

Despite having spent the majority of their life as Nierra Creek in lockdown, the duo have been able to hone their live show, playing a sold-out event at The Amersham Arms in London in October, live-streaming home concerts for JOY.

Upcoming shows:

10th July – PandaFest, Cornwall.

21st July – Signature Brew, London.

5th October – Moth Club, London.