EP Review: Luke Rainsford - I Just Don't Deserve To Be Loved

Words by Maddy Howell

With 2017 seeing the release of his second full-length record, ‘I Feel At Home With You’, the road has seemed to be on a gradual incline for Wolverhampton acoustic pop-punk nice-guy, Luke Rainsford, for a while. Now releasing his second piece of work on UK-based Scylla records since signing to them in late 2016, ‘I Just Don’t Deserve To Be Loved’ continues Rainsford’s progression through intimate lyricism and a heart-on-sleeve attitude.

The six-track EP bursts to life with the heavily confessional Looking For Your Ghost, with Rainsford’s combination of soft sighing and grief-ridden howling projecting themes of grief, heartache, and mental struggle. Despite its harrowing lyrical content, the track is eccentrically catchy, taking Rainsford’s talents further than he has ventured before.

A major theme in Rainsford’s songwriting, especially throughout his 2017 album, has been the process of mourning the loss of a loved one and the mental battle that ensues following this. These emotions are further explored on ‘I Just Don’t Deserve To Be Loved’, with An Open Letter presenting Rainsford discussing the guilt surrounding not being there for ones you love when they need it the most, and the regret that eventually spawns from that.

From the Aaron West-styled self-referencing in I Can’t Keep My Promises to the story-telling lyrical style of What I Can’t Believe, it’s the imperfections and little inconsistencies that play into the honest and confessional feel of Rainsford’s songwriting so well. His simple guitar notes layered with tales of mental health struggles and feeling like a disappointment are nothing new to his overall brand, but it’s a formula that undeniably works.

Lead single Sweet Briar is laced with nostalgia and longing for the days in which everything seemed simpler. It’s here that Rainsford is at his most natural, with his fatigued cries of “they never saved me anyway”, serving as a statement of how growing up forces a realisation of the negative aspects of the world.

Having spent a number of years honing his talents and trying to polish his sound, Rainsford appears to be only a few steps away from his peak. His infectious brand of acoustic punk has developed to a much fuller sound in recent years, something extremely evident on closing track What I Hide Beneath, serving as the most triumphant moment of Rainsford’s career thus far.

On 2017’s ‘I Feel At Home With You’, there was still a sense of unease surrounding some of the topics Rainsford laced into his lyricism. However, his latest EP shows a growing sense of comfort, with him coming to terms with his own emotions and settling on the idea of sharing those with his audience.

What Rainsford does is nothing vastly new, with a reliance on recycled chord patterns and an often simple, confessional lyrical style. However, it’s his sincerity that enables him to politely maneuver his way to the forefront of his scene, with his ability to tackle intense issues in a way that evokes both empathy and sympathy putting him a step ahead of his contemporaries.