It’s very rare that I like an artist mainly because of the voice that they posses, and when I do it’s usually a voice that belongs to someone like Billy Corgan, Ian Curtis or Morrissey; a voice that is probably easier to hate. Nor would I usually review something that is so far from being released unless I really happen to like it an awful lot.
Ebru is a London based, female soul singer of whom it says on her myspace page “was stunned by the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey. Mixed with her love of Beyonce, Floetry, Mary Mary and Jill Scott, Ebru has been able to conjure up a sound that not only can be placed alongside today’s greats but also echo’s those of the past.”
I honestly believe that thisdescription is at the very least completely accurate but could easily be perceived as Ebru and her management being very humble indeed. Her voice really is a perfect blend of all described above with an unmistakabely English aftertaste.
Set Me Free, which is to be released later on this summer, is an excellent showcase of exactly how versatile this enormous talent is.
The title track which opens the album (and can be heard below) opens with an ethereal vocal tune over what initially sounds like a rather drab piano ballad. The entire band then crashes in with more energy than an Olympic athlete and treat us to three minutes of up-tempo intricate bliss. Ebru’s voice effortlessly dances around atop the perfectly arranged music in a song that does everything that an album opener and a single should do. The chorus hook is borrowed from the fabulous Supremes song ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’, should you find yourself wondering why is sounds so familiar.
The second song ‘Matter Of The Heart’ (of which a live version can be watched below) is an ideal song to follow the upbeat excitement of ‘Set Me Free’. It is a considerably more simplistic song and very easy to become absorbed into and fully digest. The song’s highpoint is an excellent middle 8 that builds in all the right ways to a moment of anti-climactic release, which is then sadly spoiled by a rather unfortunate and pointless saxophone solo.
‘Tissues And Hangovers’ is by some distance the best track on the E.P, although disappointingly I can’t show it to you so I will try to explain just how brilliant a song this is with mere words. It opens with a scripted piece of dialogue that describes a quintesseintially English scenario of a girl suffering a hangover. This is an incredibly clever song that manages to cover a lot of ground with a relatively small amount of material that is repeated in very subtle but significant variations. Ebru’s voice shines brightest on this song with her using some fabulously complicated but beautifully prepared rhythmic phrasing that punctures the mix and demands your attention.
As much as I’ve banged on about her voice, the music and production (excluding the pointless saxophone solos scattered throughout) is also pretty spectacular; tastefully constructed and perfectly balanced beds of easy to digest biscuits on which Ebru skillfully smothers her delicious voice. That’s not to say that the music is dry, bland or an easy listen though, it challenges the ear in all the right ways with difficult harmonies genuinely interesting rhythmic games whilst perfectly complimenting the voice from a the back seat.
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