Comparison of Adam Byczkowski’s past with his today makes me want to shout: “Just follow this path!”. The first pancakes made in flannel shirts on a forest glade with post-rock/folk bands Kyst and Coldair were somehow spoiled, but now it’s just pure satin, white wine and delicacy of Better Person. It reminds me of a similar contemporary r&b created recently by Enchanted Hunters and Chloe Martini – perhaps they do follow this path and we can already talk of an emerging trend on the Polish scene? On the other hand, Better Person is as Polish as foreign. Byczkowski has been discussed abroad as a Berliner, and on top of that he stays in touch with his aesthetic soulmate Sean Nicolas Savage and toured with TOPS, which links him with our favourite Montreal label, Arbutus.
But OK, let’s go back to 2013. It was then when our radars detected his blessed soul. A bedroom ballad “I Wake Up Tired” immediately classified Better Person as a project we kept our eyes on and expected to be continued, that couldn’t be suspended for any reason. We had to wait two years, but eventually, Byczkowski published another great song, “Sentiment”, and announced an EP. A brief delay, but here we go!
I want to give a shout-out to him for the opener, “Somebody Cares”; that, along with the following “Sentiment” and a smartened up version of “I Wake Up Tired”, places Better Person in a world-class crowd of Wham!-era inspired bedroom synth-pop. The title track maintains the atmosphere and makes a smooth transition to “Everything Cold”, perhaps not the EP’s highlight, but a song that explores more of the eighties’ influences. The closer continues in the same vein, bringing a very interesting resemblance to the rhythm, pace and vocal manner used in “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” by The Smiths.
In fact, It’s Only You can be compared to Sade, Arthur Russell, Womack and Womack or the softer side of Hall&Oates as much as to Byczkowski’s contemporaries like John Maus, Blood Orange, Junior Boys, Jensen Sportag or Dan Lopatin. Blue-eyed soul and a sophisticated attitude are more than apparent on this EP, but to be honest, it’s just the tender-hearted saxophone and we would be able to sum it up as “baby-making music” and put it on a shelf sponsored by Marvin Gaye. Luckily, Byczkowski doesn’t pretend to be someone else and over the 23 minutes of introverted magic, beautiful vocal, and stimulating inspirations he remains himself. Let’s hope it’s just a prelude to something much bigger.
(Translated by Krzysztof Michalak)