Tag Archives: female singer/songwriters

CD Review: Lizzyspit – I’m Alive You Know

13 Apr

Lizzyspit sings “I Worry, I Wait” at the Troubadour in London, where several tracks from her new EP were recorded live

I'm Alive You Know: a voice of Skin-like intensity

London singer/songwriter Lizzyspit’s new 7-track EP I’m Alive You Know is a step up from her well-received first album Egg Box. There’s an assurance about her voice, always of considerable emotional substance, which imparts real urgency to lyrics that range from gentle introspection to flashes of anger without straying in to pretentious territory.

These unplugged songs are snapshots of moments lived and stored, captured in a web of spare, acoustic arrangements, and articulated with a Skin-like intensity that insists you listen to the words.

Lizzyspit (also known as Elizabeth Knights-Ward), 25, has been steadily attracting attention since Radio 2 stalwarts Janice Long and Steve Lamacq gave her some all-important airplay. Long described “Stars in the Water” (the third track on this EP) as “absolutely beautiful” and indeed it is: a delicate and ethereal chant of simple images.

The other standout tracks are the single, “Talk You Down” – a sharp, articulate tale of self preservation, and “Only a Matter of Time”, part cry for help, part reassurance that help will come.

“Little Dan” with its quirky, loping whistled intro, is a touching tribute to individuality, while “Trip” explores the frustratingly enduring remnants of a relationship that’s left its mark. “I Worry, I Wait” is a frank, unsparing account of 21st century neurosis that will echo with anyone afflicted by doubt and uncertainty.

While her first album was self-produced in her bedroom – she made a sound booth out of egg boxes – most of these tracks were recorded in London at the Troubadour, giving a strong sense of Lizzyspit’s strengths as a live performer.

Her voice, with its underlying vibrancy and resonance, is a compelling instrument that sets her apart from the current mainstream of young female singer/songwriters. It’s well served here by her spare guitar accompaniment, but I bet she can equally well let fly with a band and some harder beats behind her.

Leddra Chapman – Review: Telling Tales

31 Mar

Leddra Chapman: flair and assurance

If musical influences were sweets, Leddra Chapman wouldn’t have wasted any time with her nose pressed up against the shop window. She’d have walked in, charmed the owner and been given free rein to create her own special selection. That’s the joyful impression left by her first album, Telling Tales.

At a time when young British female singer/songwriters are enjoying an unprecedented boom, hype is easily mistaken for genuine talent. Not in Chapman’s case. She rallies her musical instincts with flair and assurance. These songs are rounded stories, folk tales of love, fate and friendship for the 21st century, sung with crystal-clear diction and minimal embellishment, worthy of the all-important airplay they’ve been getting.

Those diverse musical influences lap at the edges without dominating or tipping into pretentiousness: a hint of Vaughan Williams here, Joni Mitchell there; the evocation of a brass band that momentarily transports you to a village green in summer (“Story”); a weakness for her toy piano on “Picking Oranges”.

Telling Tales: an auspicious debut

“Edie” is one of the highlights, a searing vignette of a short, tragic life. Another, “Wine Glass” cleverly distils the trivial gesture – toying with a drink – that becomes overwhelmingly significant for the one left behind in a long-distance relationship. And the poignant “Wrap Me Up”, with its melancholy piano intro, is a bittersweet account of two people wanting different things from their love affair.

On stage, Chapman has an engaging charm that belies the depth of her lyrics; her showcase at the BBC Club last November was a shaft of sunshine on a bitterly cold winter’s day. Telling Tales is a pleasing and auspicious debut.