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Laurel - Holy Water EP

"Holy Water EP"

Release date: 15 December 2014
Laurel holy water ep
10 December 2014, 09:30 Written by Jon Putnam
She says she’s “London’s Last Sweetheart”; for all the London Boys’ sake, I sure hope not, but Laurel’s accidental self-moniker does its job of befitting her aesthetic and persona more than ever on her latest material. The Southampton siren’s earlier singles and To The Hills EP introduced us to a clearly talented vocalist with a defiant edge befitting of a late-teenager. However, these earlier songs also exposed a lack of depth and maturity to a degree and, despite her vocal prowess, Laurel seemed not entirely comfortable within her songs, she and her accompaniments creating a heterogeneous stew of sorts rather than a well blended and pureed whole.

Fortunately, Laurel’s latest EP, Holy Water, rights all of these wrongs, her sultry vocals congealing perfectly with her spare, noir-like ambience. Hearkening back to smoky, shadowy times past right down to the monochrome cover, Laurel faithfully fills the shoes of the trench-coat laden “schweet-haht”, stepping out of a Hitchcock film, black mascara running down her cheeks, more so than any of her contemporary stylistic peers. On the ever-widening and varying spectrum of female pop artists, it’s tempting to lump Laurel in with the likes of Lana Del Rey or Banks, though she plays it straighter than either of those two – less edgy and tortured than Del Rey and less horny (with a better voice) than Banks – making her ultimately more relatable in a way when it comes to anguished matters of the heart.

Lead single, “Memorials”, encapsulates Laurel’s M.O. to a tee highlighting her rich, husky vocals gelling impeccably with her backdrop, yet still paradoxically creating a cinematic feel despite the songs’ relative musical sparseness. Laurel shrewdly works this formula practically flawlessly throughout Holy Water, her vocal phrasing weaving in and around her mostly percussive surroundings, at times sauntering sensual circles around the listener and at others deliciously wafting past only to grab you by the collar and yank you forward with her at the last second. The most impressive and auspicious aspect of Holy Water is that Laurel has matured across the board, sonically, vocally, and in her songwriting, shedding her more adolescent tendencies to prime herself for the big time.

And that’s the great news with Laurel coming off this EP; the girl is only 20 and has taken a massive leap forward in a very brief period of time. She’s created and now embodies her identity, with formidable chops and time on her side. Roll on hat debut LP...

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