With seven albums under his belt and a stint as Australia’s Eurovision representative in 2015, it makes perfect sense for Guy Sebastian to experiment with his style in 2016. And in fact, that’s what he does on Part 1; his pop and R&B sensibilities find themselves twisted in new directions here, in multiple ways across six tracks, and we see a side of Sebastian we haven’t seen before. And largely, it’s a successful experiment for him.
Candle starts the EP off almost like a warning siren, blaring with fuzzy synths and edited vocals in a mixture of electronic rock and soul that’s as unexpected—or was, when it was released as a single two months ago—as it is infectious; elsewhere, on Mind On You, he tackles EDM on a tropical pop banger that sits on the exact opposite end of the aural spectrum. Electronic and R&B styles cover the EP, and it’s a solid fit for Sebastian’s style; even the unexpected Candle melds to his soulful vocals perfectly, though the finest moment on the EP is the bright synthetic R&B of Small Talk, which glides alongside his high notes perfectly. Admittedly, the only weak moment comes with Set In Stone; while the sentimental dedication to his wife is touching, the song itself is a stale moment on an otherwise adventurous release.
Outside of one false step, however, Part 1 is a colossal step forward for someone looking to experiment with their style. Guy Sebastian chooses styles that work well with his talents, and it pays off in a way that his music hasn’t for the previous few albums despite their quality. This is a bold direction for him to move in, and if Part 1 is any indicator, then the eventual album will surely be something to look forward to.