Thursday, 24 November 2016

BETHAN LEES

EP Review

Ships


Even though this is Bethan Lees' first EP she has been around a little longer than this initial offering suggests. Lees has been on the festival circuit for a couple of years but has decided it's time she moved from backstage to centre stage.

The EP from Bethan Lees
Fortunately she is in the hands of Folkstock Records which once again has been excavating the folk mines and come up with yet another gem to add to its glittering collection.
The four track disc is a taster and if you like folk music this should get your musical taste buds salivating.
First thing you notice as she sings the opener Ships is the depth of character she has in her voice for a 20-year-old.
There are hints of the gorgeously rich tones of Katie Melua mixed with the strength and worldliness of Marina Florance.
However, that is just scratching the surface, Lees carries buckets of emotion in her singing.
With the Latin inspired Water and Wine she has the same sort of gritty, earthy almost wanton sound you hear from Beth Parker of Ma Polaine's Great Decline and the sassiness of Becky Tate from Babajack. The galloping tune she keeps pace with conjures up images of torch singers in smoky clubs, with hips swaying as she walks around the tables making husbands hot under the collar and wives furious.
Lees goes to the other end of the "moral" spectrum for Sleep. There is an innocence and vulnerable quality to her singing on this track. She brings a real girlish and light quality to the last of the tracks, Post Festival Blues.
The song has the sort of playfulness you once associated with Lily Allen and, unfortunately, it's one of those tracks that by the time you have got your fingers clicking and your toes tapping it's over. This of course has its upside as you then have to play it again.
Lees, from Sussex, is a real talent who has the whole package and her ability to write a catchy tune is magical, you can only hope it's not too long before her first full album is down on disc.

Ships is released on the Folkstock label on November 25.