There’s plethora of “bands” emerging in the last decade that feature only one member with various guests or contributors helping the auteur in question realize their vision. Jacob Kinniburgh’s Content is one of the latest entries in that type and his musical leanings, as expressed here, are very diverse.

The dominant instruments are guitar and drums. Vocals are critical, however, to the release and the first cut “Lantern” bears this out. Kinniburgh has crafted an outstanding vocal arrangement that doesn’t take any short cuts and gives him understated hooks to exploit. There is a little bit of everything driving this track. The light musical bounce achieved by restless yet swinging percussion, keyboards, and guitar touches on Caribbean themes and the slinking tempo sticks in your memory.

“Coming for You” will be a favorite for many. It isn’t an especially cheerful track, but its ominous implications are handled with impressive artfulness. The refrain sticks with you more than any other single part – the gentle insistence of the song’s payoff line has the effect of making the song’s pending threat even more sinister. The vocal melody is excellent and Kinniburgh realizes its potential.

The third cut “Inside” is another high point for the self-titled EP. It has a wonderfully declarative opening line with Kinniburgh singing “I wish I never had to come back here…” with such wide-open emotion you can’t help but believe each word. “Inside” has spot-on percussion as well. He returns to the Caribbean sound of the first track, doubling down on those influences, but remaining just as convincing.


Kinniburgh’s lyrics deserve note. Close listeners will hear how he’s obviously lavished attention on penning worthwhile words for these tracks, but they are relatable throughout. He mixes ambiguity and specificity in an appealing balance but it’s this song and its immediate predecessor that are the EP’s standouts. The lyrical fare is a little lighter for the penultimate cut “Milk and Honey” as the vocals incorporate a generous amount of near-scat backing vocals courtesy of SK Simeon. The guest vocals work well with another excellent Kinniburgh performance.

Content’s self-titled EP ends with the track “Just the Day”. Kinniburgh pulls back a little on the rhythmic influences so far dominating the bulk of the release; the musical spirit is more akin to songs such as “Inside” or, to a lesser extent, the EP opener. It’s a good closer for a low-key yet relentlessly intelligent debut and leaves listeners with the impression he’s only begun scratching the surface of his considerable gifts.

If you are one of those people who believe the Internet has done little for musicians and songwriters, Kinniburgh’s Content project offers contrary evidence. Flip the calendar back thirty years or more and no major label would have dared sign him and Kinniburgh would have likely been forced to form or join an actual band if he didn’t quit first in despair. Major promotional support, a recognized label, these things look good and are occasionally very helpful, but they are no barometer of a project’s ultimate quality. Content is an important debut.

Garth Thomas