Acoustic Fires is the project of Irish singer-songwriter Stephen Rainey. His latest release, ‘These Tears’ is an acoustic guitar-led pop ballad which despite a good vocal performance, ultimately fails to rise above mediocrity for me.

A post-break up song of heartbreak and loss, this song is very easy listening. Rainey has a nice quality in his voice, particularly in his falsetto. The lyrics, for me, unfortunately, were quite cliché, and despite expressing a sense of loss and sorrow, Rainey failed to convey this in his performance.

Musically, while pleasant and easy on the ears, this song does little to make it stand out. It is fairly standard acoustic pop, and takes in little outside or contemporary influence. While modern pop music takes much from R&B and even hip-hop, here we see little diversity, and I would like to see Rainey perhaps pump some of this excitement into his sound.

Right now, the standard of pop music is very high, with the likes of Bruno Mars electrifying audiences and Ed Sheeran accumulating legions of fans with his stripped-back, intimate style and personal lyrics. While ‘These Tears’ is by no means a bad song, I feel Rainey is capable of much better. All the ingredients are present, he is clearly a decent musician, potentially a very good songwriter and definitely a naturally talented vocalist. I would like to see him do more with his vocals on future releases, and perhaps think of incorporating more contemporary influences into his music.

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