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Beren Olivia masters catchy pop but lacks originality on Early Hours of the AM

"Early Hours of the AM"

Release date: 20 August 2021
23 August 2021, 20:51 Written by Hannah Broughton
Early Hours of the AM is a pure pop debut EP that fails to wow but isn’t without promise.

“You got the tattoos and the dark hair, that’s what I like yeh. People say I have a type, this time it’s you” coo’s Beren Olivia on her soft pop ballad "Hurt You". It’s the classic teen romance story, this girl just can’t get enough of those bad boys with tattoos. All she needs to do is find one her mum likes, because we all know mums know best when it comes to who our potential partners should be. See also Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”.

Produced by pop-rock producer Dylan Bauld (known for working with Halsey, Simple Creatures, and Zachary Knowles), Early Hours of the AM has some appealing fluffy peaks but it’s not without its troughs. The emotive and slightly rockin’ “Is That What You Like Now?” is a pleasant listen and will have you singing along, but “Red Ripped Sweater” feels a tad repetitive. After the first listen the chorus begins to grate.

The true highlight of the EP has to be the title track “Early Hours of the AM”, switching to a '00s R&B direction while sounding like a mixture of veteran pop star JoJo meets floor filler superstar Mabel. Think double vodka red bulls, a light-up dancefloor, and throw in a lolly for good measure.

While the subject matter of the songs isn’t deep or original, it will satisfy some of Olivia’s target audience. Your early twenties can be a tough time, you’re still figuring out who you are and who everyone else is, not to mention your dreaded love life. And that’s what she's gone for here - it’s all about the troublesome boys in her love life - and some of the best pop songs are, but it’s nothing we’ve not heard before. The only song that isn’t about romance is closing track “The Way My Mama Looks At Me”, a well constructed if slightly saccharine song reiterating the sentiment we touched on in “Hurt You” - mum knows best. Possibly just a prelude to the singer's surely inevitable switch into her rebellious phase? Or maybe the soft pop route is the way forward for Beren Olivia, only time will tell.

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