Rory D’Lasnow ‘s EP “Songs from an Empty Room” 

Rory D’Lasnow ‘s EP Songs from an Empty Room proves his talents as a live performer translate into the recording studio. His recent single “An American Lie” has done a lot to elevate his professional and artistic profile, He’s already secured endorsement deals for his music as well as appearing at several renowned East Coast venues such as the Bowery Electric, the Knitting Factory, and other important stops. It’s a beginning to his career other artists undoubtedly envy.


He comes by its honestly. Newcomers to Rory D’Lasnow’s work will be impressed straight out of the chute by the clarity of his musical vision; he comes across as an artist who began the recording process knowing exactly the sound he heard in his head. The EP begins with the song “Where You Belong”, arguably the most traditional-minded track on the release in terms of subject matter and construction. It exists in the love song tradition while brandishing flavor and fire all its own. His vocal is especially outstanding; D’Lasnow infuses a dramatic tone into the conversational music that many listeners will love.

He isn’t trying to remake the songwriting wheel here. Songs from an Empty Room deals with well-worn themes and subject matter for the genre, but his personal perspective takes the tracks into a much different place. His mix of vulnerability and physicality isn’t as pronounced in these tracks as it is in the latter efforts, but there’s a tactile quality to the first song that you’ll likely love. It’s present as well during the second track “Forgotten”.

The second song is a much more artful effort than the first. They are cut from the same cloth essentially, but their development differs. D’Lasnow starts off the EP with a near-arch traditional pop song, but “Forgotten” has a more theatrical touch. Its sudden swells of music and emotion, the rising and falling of the arrangement, these components of the song are threaded in polished and seamless fashion.

“I Won’t Do Anything” is one of the EP’s best lyrics and the smoky side of his voice is effective conveying its emotion. These are songs intent on connecting with listeners and using everyday language like he does helps facilitate this, but he doesn’t miss the chance to put some light poetic flashes in the song. “Power of My Love” has urgency lacking in the earlier tracks. Much of this comes from its rawer sound, but that’s a bit misleading with context. There’s never anything rambunctious on this release, so when these songs introduce assertive drums, it has a transformative effect. The vocals and lyrics, however, will be the best parts for many.


“Happy” has a spontaneous snap. It is so loose and relaxed that the last song sounds like it came about as the result of a whim. It’s never ramshackle though. The same lyrical sensibility heard in the earlier songs is present here and turning down the instrumental firepower allows listeners to focus on his words. It closes Songs from an Empty Room with earthiness and sophistication alike.

Clay Burton