Further Away by Melanie Crew: EP Review

Further Away is Melanie Crew’s second EP of soft acoustic music. Released on the third of October, the EP includes some tender tracks like Ghost as well as upbeat tunes like A Hundred Words. The London-based musician has previously had her songs played on local radio stations BBC 6 and BBC Kent, and if her music keeps progressing as it is I’m sure they’ll be played all over the western world.

The first track, Bring You Back, features Melanie’s inccocent vocal tone, with a beautiful airiness in her upper register. I quite enjoyed the vocal harmony line but believe that the piece would have been better suited as a short introductory piece, perhaps taking one verse and chorus out to set up the sonic atmosphere of the EP a little more effectively. Parade is where I heard the potential of her voice to be used as a storytelling vehicle and with the right lyrics behind her, she has the potential to connect with her audience on a deeper level. I think for the chorus of this song in particular it would have been nice to hear either an extra musical layer, or a louder drum beat in the second chorus.

The interesting chordal choices in Ghost made me wonder what a singer such as Melanie could do if she played around modes (like Mixolydian or Dorian for those musicians out there wondering which I had in mind). I think if this song was put into a mode like that the low key jazz I heard in the song could be transformed into something much more eclectic and groovy. A Hundred Words was probably my favourite track on the EP. It was more upbeat than the rest, and I enjoyed the contrast between phrases with one travelling downwards in pitch then the other travelling upwards.

All That I Want was another track that had the potential to be an interlude to bring a bit of rest and set up the next part of the EP. Can’t Find A Way, the last track on the EP, called me to attention because of the excellent use of dominant function chords (it’s what I live for in pop songs). I think this particular song could have done without the vocal harmony line; it didn’t really add any interest or groove to the piece.

All up, I think there is definitely potential in Melanie’s song-writing style. Her vocals were pretty flawless and for that I give her props. I give it 6.5/10.

My Little Legs Can’t Keep Up by Rebecca Karpen: EP Review

New York singer Rebecca Karpen released her latest EP My Little Legs Can’t Keep Up on July 30; with a self-confessed mix of Joni Mitchell and Tennessee Williams this EP will, to put it bluntly, give you the dreaded emotions. It consists of the thoughts and feelings of a teen over the space of twenty-eight minutes, owing much emotional depth to the vocal tone of Karpen and her baritone ukulele. I took a listen, and was surprised at what I heard.

The first track, Stop You’re Over Thinking It, sets up the tone of the EP with Rebecca’s signature instrument. It’s obvious from the get go that the song is going to be emotionally charged, but the rhythm took a hit because of it. It needed to be more steady as it was difficult to keep up. I loved the interesting chordal progressions in Temple in Athens. I also thought her falsetto showed promise, with most transitions towards her higher register fairly seemless.

Cragfast signalled a slight change in feel, with the use of a guitar instead of ukulele. In this track it was evident that Rebecca needs to work on her vocal support, her tone became unsteady as the progressed and as the lyrics became more emotional. Although, I did enjoy her choice to speak rather than sing some of the lyrics. This is a poignant choice that clearly shows her intuition in regard to conveying emotions and telling a narrative. I think the song itself could have used a simpler and more vulnerable beginning, providing more contrast to the rest of the piece.

The title track began with distant sounding instrumentation and vocals. An interesting choice which I’m sure was deliberately metaphorical in relation to the lyrics. I found that I preferred Rebecca’s tone in this because it was softer and more vulnerable; meaning it was easier for her to support her tone and keep it steady. From the content of this emotionally-charged song, you can immediately gather that this artist has great potential. If she applied her talent to songs that commented society, possibly mixing some political issues into the mix, I think she could be the next Bob Dylan. An icon for the masses to look to when ‘the system’ is in disarray. (As a side note, I also imagine Rebecca would be excellent at creating and performing Slam Poetry).

All in all, the EP needs a little work. However, there is an element of rawness to her performance that speaks to her song-writing ability. With some work on her vocals and a little more experience, I predict she could be one of the greats. I give the EP a 6/10.

You can listen to her music on Bandcamp and YouTube

Also, you can check out her Facebook Page