It’s difficult to sum up an album in few words, to try and get underneath the fingernails of the music and write a sentence that truly encapsulates what is being heard is a tricky thing to do but in Erin K’s new album ‘I Need Sound’ it’s rather easy, in truth it only takes one word; Quirky.
If you can imagine a cocktail of an Indie-at-heart singer, sounding a little like Dido with the writing skills of Kate Nash but having the honesty and self-exploration of Florence Welch and then arm that singer with a guitar, a handful of good songs and you’re halfway there to what Erin K has made (the remaining half being producer Kristofer Harris, who has worked with Belle & Sebastian in the past) and you’ve got a record that will not only keep you enthralled from the first note but will almost guarantee repeat listens.
I think where the album succeeds is with the feeling that each track is not only totally separate but keep you on your toes to where the music will go within the three to four minutes of each song.
Opening with ‘Little Turns’, a song crying out for commercial radio play, we’re introduced to narrative-driven lyrics set against sparse guitar, haunting backing vocals and a chorus that stays in the mind long after the song has ended.
Throughout the album great care is put into the drum work, not just the rhythms and patterns but also the actual sound of the kit, at times sounding reduced and contained and then at others sounding large and encompassing, acting like a golden frame to an already impressive package.
We drift through 50’s sounding ‘Dumb Dolly’, indie ‘Frame To Freeze’ to the foot-tapping beats of ‘I Need Sound’ and 80’s-inspired ‘Happiness’ and although each song sounds different there is a common thread running throughout, linking each song meaning it’s difficult to pick out a favourite (but on initial listen ‘Just A Friend’ took that accolade).
It’s not until the second or third listen do you realise how acute some of Erin’s lyrics are, comparing heartache to toothache is a difficult subject to base a song around but then when the lyrics contain “…Netflix has replaced my friends, you’re getting Candy Crush requests, my boyfriend can’t remember sex” there is no doubt you’re in safe hands.
It’s an album set in today but with a knowing nod to past musical trends – there is even a brave but successful cover of Grease duet ‘You’re The One That I Want’ – and will appeal to those who love their indie accessible and their pop more intelligent than the stuff being written for manufactured girl bands.
Find it, hear it and decide for yourself.