Rustin Reiners’ project opens with “Ocean”, a track that captures the young adult nostalgia of missing something that you’ve never had. The soothing, calm vocals and light-hearted instrumental complement the feeling of being so caught up in your own head that you forget to be present. Lyrics like, “These memories inside my head/ They’re incomplete/ They’re fading fast” and “I like to think back to when the ocean came and it went/ And I felt something more than this” evoke a sensation of being so tired of existing purely for the sake of existing. The aching desire to feel something that pulls you out of a life on autopilot is prevalent.
The EP effortlessly flows into “How Long”, which feels like the moment of reflection that comes with accepting who you are as a whole. It is admitting to yourself the things that you felt, and navigating to every corner of your mind, regardless of how dark it may appear. This introspection appears in lyrics like “How long have I been afraid of my own shadow?/ How long have I tried to disappear?” The simple rhythmic guitar, clean production, controlled vocals and alluring lyrics make for a sombre and thoughtful song that will leave you wondering how long it will be before the very view before your eyes goes from extraordinary to ordinary, as every view grows old and all eyes grow weary. Rustin asks himself, “How long will I sing the same song?/ How long ‘til this means nothing at all?”
“Young Hearts” is a track that will take you straight back to your first love; the youthful, fearless, unfiltered love that becomes almost impossible to feel again once it passes. The track plays on the thought of how once the fear of life’s calamities finds its place in your mind, it’s difficult to recapture that same untainted feeling you got from your youth. “Young Hearts will feel any and everything/ Young hearts are nothing like they seem/ We’re all dying to feel any and everything/ No matter all the pain it brings” is a testament to feeling; and how whether it be negative or positive, it is the desire to feel that overpowers everything. The song has a catchy and light hearted tone that will leave you bobbing your head the whole way.
In “Think of Change” Rustin explores the dangerous nature of getting too comfortable, and how, despite knowing it as certain, change always takes people by surprise. “You were all I’ve known for so long/ I didn’t think of change” is an ode to the gut wrenching feeling that occasionally comes with change. It is a calming, reflective piece of music that really plays on the heart strings as Rustin delivers smooth vocals with harmonious precision over a beautiful melody.
“Memories” is the perfect close. It’s the acknowledgement that the only things in life that matter are the things you’ll look back on with fondness; the things that made you feel a certain way. It is a sombre, beautiful, symphonic reflection of what your mind has been through. It is the happy confusion of not knowing which memories were dreams and which were real, and the realisation that it does not matter. Lyrics like “I’ve lived my life through pictures of memories/ I couldn’t tell you why it means so much to me” and “I can’t trust my mind, it tells me lies” accentuate a blurred reflection of life; where the internal feeling far outweighs the external events. The song itself is a gripping ambience that builds up with nostalgia as it goes along, and Rustin really shows off his vocal ability with controlled harmonies and serene singing. “Now it’s too late/ I’m losing what’s left of me” is the last hurrah of reflection, as like everything else, memories too eventually fade.
“Memory is Fiction” is a beautiful contemplation of the significance of time and what it means to exist.