The Aries EP is a continuously pleasant surprise with intermittent flavours of pop, rock, jazz and soul.

Ron Maas has had various different musical outfits: behind bass, mic and occasionally keys in the indie rock of Dutch band Audio Adam or the edgy folk-pop of JAYA; front-manning the sexy pop of Paperwolf; playing bass for a plethora of pop, jazz and folk artists.

I was incredibly intrigued by the idea of Ron writing a solo EP, and curious to hear how he might distill his many musical talents and influences into a coherent creation. I was prepared to be surprised.

The Aries EP is a continuously pleasant surprise. Ron has managed to harness his entire history as a musician and craft from it four individual yet complementary songs. The songs share something rather intangible at their core, but intermittent flavours of pop, rock, jazz and soul take the songs in different directions as the EP progresses.

The EP opens up with ‘Too Close To See’. If ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay and ‘Eet’ by Regina Spektor had a child and Ron raised it, this is what it would sound like. There’s a freshness to the song, and it transports me to the top of a skyscraper where I have the breeze in my face as I look down over the city below. I imagine this song as an innuendo to the society in which we live, oblivious to the lives of others around us.

‘Oh Darling Won’t You’ brings a jazzy flavour to the table, both in the arrangements and the melody. Ron’s vocal, which is perhaps more accustomed to the rock/pop side of the musical spectrum, fits perfectly in this slightly darker track.

Ron Maas | Lines in the Darkness (Live Session)

The sonority of the album brightens up again in the penultimate track, ‘Rustle In The Yard’. If you like comparisons, take the jauntier side of Oasis and mix it with a bit of Sixpence None The Richer, Corinne Bailey Rae and Yael Naim. What results is pleasantly flowery, and sounds just like what I imagine Ron has tried to deliver in the lyrics.

Particular praise goes to the mellow and rousing horn section in the final track of the EP, ‘Lines in the Darkness’. In this song Ron’s voice is exalted, and it reveals its warmer hues. Ron’s solo version of this track (accompanied by a one-shot video recorded with Go out of Tune above) shows a more intimate and subtle side of his musicianship. This acoustic version (in which Ron plays a keyboard and a piano at the same time) allows us to connect with Ron’s rawest notes in an impeccable live performance.

‘Lines in the Darkness’, with its simpler and more subdued arrangement, is a beautiful ending to this diverse EP. The listener emerges from this final track refreshed and ready to listen from track one again and again, and perhaps just once more for good measure.