Love is War (EP)

by Jack Byrne

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Jack Byrne has greatly refined his six-string stylings on his 2010 EP Love Is War, a collection of heartfelt acoustic tunes. While many singer/songwriters employ backing bands or use involved arrangements, Byrne allows his natural talents to shine through, letting his compositions focus almost exclusively on his strong guitar-playing and singing.

In his music, Byrne channels the hushed folky tones of greats like Iron & Wine or Simon and Garfunkel. While the vocals of these artists can often be more subdued, Byrne’s voice is powerful and present—it’s truly an additional part of the instrumentation and not just a method to convey his lyrics. Thematically, this is an introspective record that focuses on, as you might have guessed, love. Even at their most narrative, the lyrics still reveal a deeper emotional insight into each track’s subject.

The songs are at their best when Byrne weaves his intricate finger-picking and vocal harmonies into his arrangements. This is most notable in standout tracks “Lioness” and “I Ate Civilization,” with the latter featuring amazing ghostly layered harmony, quite reminiscent of Grizzly Bear. Another highlight is “Without Looking Back,” where Byrne does his best Sufjan Stevens imitation, breaking into an unfaltering falsetto, while singing about sneaking away from the world with a lover. Overall, this is an excellent EP, well worth a listen for enjoying the complexity of its simplicity.

-Kevin Junker of


released April 27, 2010

All songs written, produced, and recorded by Jack Byrne. Cover art by Kaitie Fry.



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Jack Byrne Boston, Massachusetts

Indie-Folk singer songwriter from Boston, MA

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Track Name: The Visitor
This morning the news predicted scattered showers,
and I predict that I'll stay home.
It's just me and my pajamas and a record player now.
No sooner do I sit down to a cup of coffee
there's tapping on my window
And there you are, smiling, like you don't even know
you're soaked to the bone

I don't know what's gotten into you

I bite my lip as you track mud all over the apartment
and I offer you a towel.
And I say, "you should have called,
I would have been happy to pick you up."
Oh, two of us with nothing better to do this Sunday
but make sure we get nothing done,
which would have been annoying if it were anybody else.

There's nothing I'd rather do than waste my time with you.
Track Name: Lioness
Hey little lioness
I've walked into your path
Be careful what you wish for
Be careful what you wish for

You have my undivided attention
I wouldn't think to turn and run
Your mouth is your most dangerous weapon
Oh, lioness, what have you done?

Hello fearless woman
We're alone here in your room
Be careful what you wish for
Be careful what you wish for

You have my undivided attention
I wouldn't dare turn and run
Your mouth is your most dangerous weapon
Oh, girl, what have you done?

Hey there Miss Loneliness
What's gotten into you?
Be careful what you wish for
Be careful what you wish for

You have my undivided attention
I didn't think you'd turn and run
Your heart is your most dangerous weapon
Oh, lioness, what have you done?
Track Name: I Ate Civilization
I kind of like it here
The silence is so comforting
I get nervous when you're near
That's why I've driven myself out
I'll take what I can find,
Build shelter out of sticks and stones
Nothing happens here, but I don't mind
I guess that's sort of the point

I think I like this place
No one will ever find me here
Out here my heart can't break
You can't reach when it's this far away
I've set my boat on fire
So I'm absolutely certain there's no way back
The sea is stretched out for miles
And I'm safe here in my hiding place
Track Name: Open Up
Decades passed, and seemed to rot this house
Do you remember when the tulips used to grow
all yellow in their pots on our front window?
Cracked clay remains, holding the dirt they once called home
But no amount of flowers can fill an empty nest
You haven't said a word to me since Michael left
I've always been able to read through your silence
I've always felt a little doubtful that we'd last

The air grows cold as autumn's ending
Not as cold as we're more than just pretending to be
Open up your heart and let me in
For now, open up your arms

Hiding where you know I'll find you out
Hoping I will ask you why you are there
Counting on my need for reassurance
If love is war, you are a seasoned veteran
But the truth would be your weapon
Your words raining down on us
And once it's in the air, we can't claim it never was
Oh, when you're gone I swear I'll make this house look better
than it did years ago when I carried you through the door

The years grow long, my heart has withered
I write to you from a house reduced to splinters
My love
Open up your heart and let me in
For now, open up your arms
Track Name: Without Looking Back
I cannot pretend that I have seen the stars so clear before tonight
They don't appear like this back home
My ears haven't stopped ringing since we left the city on Monday
And I haven't looked back since yesterday morning
When you told me that I was yours
Oh, the unforgettable night before

Do you think anybody wonders where we've disappeared to this time?
When do you think they'll send the search party?
My pulse hasn't stopped racing since we left them all on Monday
And we haven't looked at a map since the Park Street train
Whether they like it or not, we're lost
Oh, we're as untraceable as we want
Track Name: Hobo Poetry
The lie that you call your life
It scares me to death that you aren't bothered
I have dreams in my head
And I told you all about them
And you dared to listen

Then you looked at me like I was borderline crazy
The things I screamed back at you got me thinking I may be
I won't let you tell me how it's all gonna end up
I won't sit in a box with a tie on for the rest of my life

I wonder what you were like ten years ago
Were you boring then too?
What couldn't you risk back then that I don't have now?
And was it all worth it?

Oh, you don't know anything
Every word you say proves it
And you can't say anything
You've never been through it
You're crazy
You're unbelievable
You're sick
And you're twisted
If you think I'll be dragged down with you
Then you're missing the point