Single Review: “Olive” by Amerik

by Craig Russell Horne

With expert production and university lecture worthy pacing, Amerik has created a rousing synth-ballad with ambient traits that will please casual listeners as-well-as audiophiles.

Having captured the attention of BBC Radio Ulster and Nialler9 with his 2018/19 singles, Belfast composer and producer Amerik announces the release of his debut EP, Bouquet. The collaborative project features four of the best local songwriters including Gareth Dunlop, Travi The Native, Little Rivers and Pete Wallace, set for release April 2021.
‘Olive’ is the first single to be released from the EP which features the unmistakable vocals of Gareth Dunlop. A marriage of anthemic sounds and deeply personal introspective lyricism, that self reflection invites the listener to join in on the emotional excavation that Dunlop has so courageously pursued. Delicately fusing rich synths and chordal progressions, ‘Olive’ proves to be a rousing showcase of Amerik’s masterful production.

’Olive’ is available everywhere now.

“The EP name came from a photograph I took from my wedding day in 2019, and how each flower within a bouquet has their own unique style, but all complement each other. In the same way, each track is unique to the artist through their lyrics, but centred around my co-writing, composition and arrangement.” Says Amerik.

Amerik, 2 years ago started producing a beautiful 5 part series of tracks (helpfully named from ‘One’ to ‘Five’) which delivered wonderful Rhodes keys and pad heavy experience tracks so, I was fairly excited to get the same with the release of his new single, ‘Olive’.

I was expecting a slow paced, expansive, ambient journey similar to what we had heard before but, one minute into listening I had already got that and moved in to a rousing synth ballad.

This track is massive. It is expertly paced, outstandingly produced and unboundedly emotive. Starting with subtle keys, leaving more than enough room for the booming vocals of Gareth Dunlop to fill the rest. As previously stated, the pacing of this track is incredible. Everything layers and fills the gaps around what came before. After the huge presence of Dunlop’s vocals are made, delicate hi-hats flutter and percussive knocks join just to “rev” the track. As if Dunlop’s voice didn’t sound big enough, Amerik has only gone and filled the surrounding areas with reverb packed harmonies and marched them along with a thick pulsing synth bass.

What I find genuinely astounding is how massive this track sounds with a seemingly lack of real punch in the high end. The bass is thick, the drums thump, Dunlops voice is smooth, the only thing “up there” is little flushes of the piano, percussion, light acoustic guitar strums and the harmonies. It remains like that for the entire track minus the slaps of processed snares that announce the chorus and swirling pads that follow that dramatic announcement. Again, I will keep saying it, it is all down to the pacing of this track. Production is not simply about how things sound to accompany the songwriting, it is how it enhances the songwriting. Gareth Dunlop’s lyrics show this building of emotion that is ‘ready to burst’ and so, Amerik has allowed the track to bolster that sensation. 

‘Olive’ isn’t simply an emotional sounding track, it is emotional. Almost in the sense that it is alive and feeling it.





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