Olivia was Introduced to me by Beth Wimmer, who releases her new album Bookmark over the coming days and we kept in touch. With a new EP out, it's time to look into the presented new music.
Starting to play the new work, I heard 'Clarity' first. It gave me quite a fright, because the song was not one that I liked. It sounded forced to me especially in the way of singing. Lucky for me, there are two more songs and that made sure things turned out more than alright.
Those reading the caption of this post will have noticed that something has changed. The EP is presented as a duo production. Olivia works together with Xaq Adrience, a befriended guitarist who takes care of some lead guitar lines in the songs. This does the songs a lot of good. From the basic chords underneath the song, played by Olivia, all these notes and lead lines come forward that enliven the song and supports or plays off of the vocal melody.
In the lyrics Olivia Rose is still finding here way in growing up and the emotional and rational choices that come with it. Finding out that being pretty on the outside says nothing about the inside (and the other way around) was the theme of her first song, 'Pretty Face (Ugly Heart)'. In 'Clarity' its about seeing things clearer from a distance. Emotions of feelings that come with love versus the rational decision to step aside and uncertainty from unrequited love in 'Waste Of Time'. We have all been through it. "Hanging on in quiet desperation", to quote a famous U.K. sympho band. Trust and the breaking of trust is the theme of 'What I deserve'.
With that title I have the strongest song of the three. Hidden away in the whole is the influence of U.K. folk acts like Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny. The dark lead lines are a dead give away. They give the song such a dark mood, that is reciprocated by the singing. Together they work really well and convince in topic and execution.
Musically the songs are basic, yet have a melodic strength. The duo gets the most out of the compositions without bringing in more musicians or instruments. What they can do together is what I hear and basically that is enough. The three songs that make up Clarity make the statement the duo wants to make.
Listening to 'Clarity' more often things even become alright between the title song and me. The guitar playing is fine, as is the melody. So, summing up, Olivia Rose together with Xaq Adriance has made a nice next step in her young career.
You can listen to and buy Clarity here: