All At Sea
All At Sea is a carefully crafted collection of nine folk songs written and composed by Brighton, UK's Emily Baker. Each track is headed by her soulful and distinct vocal and backed by a crystal clear acoustic guitar.
This record is a beautiful example of uncomplicated Americana. These days, the stripped down sound is often over looked and deemed "boring", but Baker and crew pull off a very respectable effort. The songs really stand up for themselves through the songwriting and presentation. They may be bare, but Baker's thick voice and the subtle guitars bring warmth and a fuller sound. Her lyrics are brilliantly written and delivered through memorable melodies.
Each track brings its own story and paints a different and very vivid picture. Baker brings attention to love, ambition, and fragility, exploring each intricately and passionately. I really like how the attention is always on the vocal, leaving out the overcrowding that can happen with too many instruments. Tastefully placed harmonies come and go throughout the album and a haunting slide guitar adds a touch of mystery.
All At Sea, though scarce, is unapologetic. It's the conviction with which it is presented that really cements it as a great record.
Liz Lawrence, another UK songstress, is carrying on the rich British tradition of making better music than us. I'm kidding, kind of. Following in the deep footsteps of Florence and the Machine and Laura Marling, Lawrence fits somewhere in between the two. Prompting classic pop rhythms, a soaring voice, and unrelenting talent, Bedroom Hero is an extremely easy album to fall into.
Its accessibility is due to the rich and catchy rhythms that run throughout the record, laying foundation for Lawrence's warm vocals. Not only are these songs crafted exquisitely well, but the songwriting takes it over the edge from a great record to outstanding. Lawrence gives us the whole package here. She definitely has a knack for creating songs that you want to listen to, and hear over and over again.
The full band effect here is well balanced and roomy. The album is danceable and fun and for the most part, lighthearted. Instead of being theatrical, much like Florence, these songs are just easily enjoyable, plain and simple. They're huge but humble, loud but still reserved. In this way, Lawrence leaves herself open to many more possibilities in the future.
Bedroom Hero is available now at www.lizlawrence.bandcamp.com