I was very privileged to preview this EP by Edinburgh based musician Holly Drummond ahead of its release. She first entered my radar whilst playing and recording under the pseudonym Smoothiesforme, from the outset I was convinced that much potential was bubbling away and looked forward to following her progress. One thing that I do have trouble coming to terms with is the apparent mismatch between the reality of her performance and writing, and her youth. She may still be a teenager, yet listening to her suggests a maturity of insight and understanding that belies her age. Seeing her deal effortlessly with an insulting ‘troll’ during a live webcast was a joy to behold; she was clearly registering the live chat room messages on screen as she played and sang but wasn’t put off one bit – after the song she simply announced that she would “get rid of him from the conversation”, a few keystrokes later the offensive posts were gone and she launched straight into her next song. With this combination of talent and self-confidence I fully anticipate great things from her in the future.
Opening with a fairly rocky ‘Girl That You Don’t Know’, in general this is is laid-back selection; instruments include acoustic guitar, piano, cello to underpin the sensual vocals. ‘Royalty’ is one of the more uptempo songs included, and explores the theme of insincerity and suggests that Holly is a keen and accurate observer of human behaviour who has direct experience of being let down by others. In common with most artists that impress me, she projects a variety of textures, tones and emotions when she plays, and the six tracks on this EP offer an excellent introduction to her for anybody who wishes to appreciate some calm serenity allied with intelligent lyrics. She is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who plays most parts here herself, collaborating with Lewis Mokler on one track (‘The Hands Of Change’).
Those who are familiar with my reviews will know that I tend to avoid comparisons as I believe new music is best approached without too many preconceptions; I will make a rare exception and name two artists whose names appeared in my head whilst listening – Nick Drake and Dido. That is not to suggest that Holly is a re-invented Nick using Dido’s voice, she is very much an artist that can justifiably stand on her own merit. Similarly, I also tend to avoid selecting ‘bests’, something particularly best done with this EP as each song is a true aural delight and as such this will undoubtedly be ‘filed’ along with the great recordings in my library.
1/ ‘Girl That You Don’t Know’
2/ ‘Out Of My Mind’
4/ ‘The Hands Of Change’
5/ ‘Cloud Nine’