Battlescars – Estani Frizzell reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Between pop and a hard place, between melody and musical muscle, between groove and grace there is a sweet spot. Many artists try to find their way there, few get it quite right. Battlescars is the sound of someone hitting that spot perfectly. Estani Frizzell has already proven that she is able to turn her gorgeous vocals to any style that she chooses, here she turns it to a deft blend of pop and rock, music which is both accessible and perfect for mainstream markets but which is also mature and smart enough in its construction to appeal to those with more discerning and slightly more alternative tastes too.

It’s a neat song, one which uses military analogy and combative lyrics to talk about relationships at breaking point. She is not the first person working in such a sonic space to note that Love is a Battlefield but whilst many have tackled the timeless issues of love, loss and longing, of fighting for a relationship which is damaging to the emotional well-being of those caught in its combat zone, few have done it so concisely. The analogies are clear but often subtly woven into the fabric of the song allowing it to remain on the right side of heartache, making it easily accessible and most of all universal and relatable in the story that it is telling.

And the music is just as smart. Just enough rock weight to ground the song and provide a solid base to work from, enough pop infectiousness to have you singing along by the time the chorus comes around. An easy contender for radio-play and chart manoeuvres but also far from the usual throwaway fare that most mainstream contenders seem to be these days.

Real depth but also real groove, especially during the spacious bass pulse and understated beat driven verses, a solid structure on which to build, the song cocooning itself in additional vocal textures and peripheral sonics and sound washes as it slow burns its way towards the finish. As I said earlier, its all about finding the sweet spots between genres and styles rather than merely nailing your colours to the mast of what has gone before and that is exactly what Estani Frizzell does so well here.

Pop or rock? Commercial or underground? Who cares as long as she continues to turn out songs which are this tactful, this tasteful. I’m sure that we have nothing to worry about on that score.

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