Clare Blackman

Essex based singer and songwriter Clare Blackman has been honing her talents on the open mic circuit as well as having a regular slot in Starbucks.

The first track on the record ‘Ripe’, opens with a melancholy folk feel. The guitar is subdued and the vocal is very warm and rich. ‘Long Way’, on the other hand, is a dark track with lyrics that leave enough unsaid to provoke plenty of thought. The words, when combined with the melody, bring to mind Tori Amos.

Brightening up the record, ‘Lofty and I’ has a chirpy guitar and pleasant melody, even though the lyrics still contain some of the bite of the previous tracks.

‘Choke’ uses a different rhythm to leap out from the other tracks and the vocal harmonies, whilst being used sparingly, add a richness to the song that could have been used in similar careful measures in the previous track to elevate the chorus above the verses.

Penultimate track, ‘Elbowroom’, is one of the stand-out tracks on the record with a memorable melody that disguises the potency of the lyrics at first pass.

Last of all, ‘Blue’, uses a picked guitar part to conjure up the exact feel the title suggests. The vocal gets treated to a higher mix on this song and this creates an intimate feel that allows you to picture the images suggested by the lyrics.

Clare has a voice that is mature beyond her meagre 21 years and that voice conveys plenty of feeling. While it is fair to say that the production could have been slicker in terms of the guitar sound, this EP certainly gets the quality of the vocal across.

This is a collection of songs to shed tears to. However, if you are after some sort of comparison for her alternative-folk style, just think of PJ Harvey combining with Joni Mitchell and subsequently getting provoked in to something of a mixed angry and sad mood.

Stuart 'Saur' Smith was a prolific writer for The Mag throughout the magazine's lifetime. He combined a day job of temporary office jobs in London with a nightlife of trawling the capital's music venues looking for talent. As well as writing about music, he was a session musician who featured on a number of singles in the 90s. Today, Stuart is a Chief Writer for Phonotonal.