Album review: Joseph Vea | Half As Much (EP)

On the rise Gold Coast singer-songwriter Joseph Vea has just released a deeply personal four song EP, entitled ‘Half As Much’. An ex New Zealander of Tongan heritage, Vea is a self-taught artist who’s taken his muse from its street busking beginnings to now recording from his home studio, garnering admiring attention from local radio and Triple J Unearthed in the process. And on his debut EP, Vea channels his life journey of personal growth and cultural reclamation across its four soulful numbers.

The EP’s title track, ‘Half As Much’, slithers out of the blocks off the back of a smooth and slinky salsa groove, latin-tinged guitar flourishes and a breezy r&b bounce, while channelling a life affirming message of self-acceptance and love.

Lead-off single, ‘Plastic Man’, is one of the EP’s cornerstone numbers, in which Vea muses introspectively on his inner journey of grappling with personal identity and reconnecting with his heritage; “Build my home where I stand, made in the present from the past.”

Produced by Julian Steel, it further showcases Josephs warm, honey-smooth vocals as the song rises up and embeds itself into listening consciousness off the back of some tasteful guitar and keyboard swells and sweet vocal harmonising.

‘Walls’ ups the tempo and demonstrates the diversity of Joseph’s songcraft with its neo soul stylings augmented with lashings of guitar and a sweet reggae-infuse tempo change in the fade out… one for the dancefloor as well as for the soul.

And with ‘Find Me’, Joseph further morphs his musical template and connects with an uplifting soul-reggae vibe, it’s sway inducing, brass inflected groove rising to a more urgent crescendo before floating off into the sunset.

On the strength of this debut EP offering, the name Joseph Vea is one that we’re sure to be hearing a lot more of over the rest of 2021, and it will certainly be exciting to see where he takes things next.

Take a listen below:

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