As far as I can work out, Charlotte Church has decided to make music her own way. Those that follow these things will know that she has recently been quietly touring small venues across the country and as far as I can work out surprising many people with her latest change in direction. According to her fan newsletter she is planning to release 5 EPs over the coming year and the first one (titled 'O N E') came out this week via iTunes. I have no idea whether she will be releasing a hard copy too. Here's what I thought:
The Rise - A short and stirring opener that showcases Charlotte's skill as a vocalist and sets the tone for the rest of the tracks. It opens with her singing in her lower range without instrumentation and builds with the underlying music to a quick and heavy crescendo. Perfect belts, beautiful richness and interesting dynamics. The track is short and punchy.
Say It's True - For me this is the weakest song of the collection. Although it is driven by a folky drum beat it is probably the most pop like of all the tracks. There's an interesting combination of instruments that are layered in a relatively complex way, but I was left wishing that Charlotte just let go with the vocals a little more. Thats personal preference though, and I suspect a lot of people will like it!
What's interesting about the release of Charlotte Church's latest release is that there has not been so much as a ripple on the internet. So far there is little except for fan reviews. I thought I would do my bit and promote. So far it sits across a few different genres and if Charlotte can keep this up I'll definitely be looking out for the rest of the EPs and more importantly will be trying to catch her next time she plays at my local pub!
How Not to Be Surprised When You're a Ghost - Vocally the most interesting melodies of the album are in this track. As already mentioned here, there are some lovely nods to early Kate Bush littered throughout the track. i have no idea whether this is intentional or not, but I hope it is a sign of what the future Eps will contain. I love the sumptuous harmonies towards the end of the song that takes it from its crescendo to its final.
Beautiful Wreck - Another track with a folky drum beat. Sung by a lesser vocalist it could easily be too sweet, but Charlotte sings with a gusto that cuts through the lush chords and its soaring quality reminds me of some of Elbow's latest tracks. A great one to hear live I'm sure.
All in all, I've really enjoyed listening to this and am very curious to see what direction the other EPs will take. The idea of less promotion, more human interaction and relying on the product to spread through word of mouth is admirable. Anyone thats been on tour knows it certainly is not the easy option. There's been little talk of the EP on the net, so if people like what they hear, spread the word and do your bit to make sure that we get to hear whats coming next.