Houses is the poignant new single from singer-songwriter Nick Byrne. Featuring fingerpicked acoustic guitar with hushed, emotive vocals and just a dash of electric guitar, the song explores themes of nostalgia and seizing the moment.
As the lyrics portray, a house represents history, family and belonging, and is a metaphor applicable to life in general. The song was inspired by a trip to Liverpool where Nick came across streets of empty houses falling into ruin. He opens the song by focusing on his relationship with his father, a builder. The chorus urges the listener to seize the moment: “I know you have time, don’t you pass it up”. However, Nick chooses to leave the listener with an optimistic message, and amongst the swell of strings towards the end of the track, Nick declares “this feels like home” – an end to a journey that has taken no shortage of time, love and care to come to, and should not be taken for granted.
Houses is built from a melancholy melody and held together with Nick Byrne’s wistful vocal. Less country and more folk-Americana, the song is very much in the vein of Taylor Swift’s folklore and reminds me of Bon Iver and Iron & Wine. At its heart, it’s (mostly) acoustic storytelling with roots firmly entrenched in heartfelt emotion and metaphor.