Sophia Marshall “Bye Bye” (Independent, 2017)

Following on from her solo debut EP last year comes a full album from Leicester’s Sophia Marshall, once half of the much missed Havenots.  It’s a slender little thing, with nine songs clocking in at a tad over thirty minutes but there’s much to like and indeed love.  All are Marshall originals bar Losing You, co-written with former Havenots partner Liam Dullaghan and it’s a little ironic that it’s the co-write that is the least successful piece here.  It’s catchy, poppy and boasts a great tune but just doesn’t quite seem to be Marshall in the way that the other songs are and some of the higher notes are somewhat strained.

On the remaining songs Marshall’s sister Sarah provides harmonies to fill things out when they need to be, allowing Sophia’s voice, which is a thing of smoky beauty, to flourish.  They’re all largely slow, reflective pieces, played by a sympatico set of musicians, often with lush arrangements, occasionally with a bit of jauntiness (Missing Piece) but the brooding Catch Me is more typical.  The closing Drunken Sailor takes the shanty as its starting point but takes it somewhere completely unexpected as its mournful sound plays over a background of breaking waves.   An album to be listened to carefully, and one which will reward said careful listening.

Author: Jeremy Searle

Deputy Editor & Videos Editor at Americana UK, promoter at Greenbird Promotions, writer for R2 and Maverick magazines, possessor of more CDs than is entirely decent and inveterate hoarder.

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