​Review: Harbour and Islands EP by Ollie Dixon

Words by: Amy Moores
Photos by: Abbie Barton

Already featured by BBC Introducing South West, BBC Sounds and used promotionally by Finisterre, Ollie Dixon’s new single Harbour is part of his upcoming anticipated EP, Islands.

Harbour maintains a subtle yet strong melody throughout, reminiscent of prose with a nostalgic feel. Like any good musician, Ollie’s work is built on a solid narrative. The new tracks have a clear style and story, with Harbour being the culmination of the EP’s journey.

The question “are we ageing with the ageing days” establishes uncertainty, whilst the journey finds resolution in “I found peace in my solitude… you were just the black sea and I was the harbour”. Ultimately, to me, the song discusses secret sentiments, harboured and kept safe.

The sound is consistent with Ollie’s existing discography, with fellow Islands EP tune Drifting being a particularly worthwhile mention. Released this July, Drifting matches Harbour with gentle delayed reverb throughout the track, with the line “I’m drifting, passing on through” as a definite ambient stand out.

This is also marked by the musical addition of Lee Croad, writing with Ollie on the new EP. This team has been busy, out supporting India Electric Co on tour, alongside playing Between The Trees and GoldCoast Ocean Fest earlier this year.

The artwork for each of the Islands singles presents a consistent image, with a display of seafaring imaginings. All three tracks released so far this year have the feel of a grainy lithograph, in the portrayal of a lighthouse, shore and constellation.

The ghostly tune St Agnes is inspired by Wheal Coates, the Cornish former tin mine sullenly depicted in the single’s artwork. This is Ollie’s most streamed track on Spotify so far — think moody, self-aware and suitably allegorical.

It would be easy to compare Ollie’s music to Ben Howard, with a similar indie seaside vibe. The guitar and narrative are reminiscent of Daughter, heard especially in his 2019 EP Here & Now, impactful and morose.

No Man Is An Island examines the 1970 John Donne poem by the same title, widely known as a discussion around the individual and their need for connection. The song examines this subconscious, particularly in “I don’t need your help now, I can stand my own ground, I can find my own way”.

The new single is mature, with a stripped-back technical prowess that is slow, soft and sweet. We highly recommend that you check out Ollie Dixon’s new single, Harbour and the Islands EP, out now.

Instagram: @olliedixon