Andy Howells listens in to two brand new releases from singer/songwriters Volente and Lucy Spraggan.
Volenté – Is This Real
Is this Real? asks the title of the multi-talented South Wales singer-songwriter/ actress Volente’ on her latest long play. The question itself could be referring to a few scenarios, not least the ongoing life situation we all found ourselves caught up in with the ongoing pandemic or in context, the 12 new compositions the artist presents to us for 2021.
On first play, Is This Real? appears to be lush with ambient techno beats, intricate orchestral string arrangements and an angelic sounding vocal group, but in fact is Volente herself layering and multi-layering a beautiful aura of reflection, loss and positive self-assurance.
The album does not mess about with its content. Many of the tracks are three-minute wonders leaving the listener wanting more.
Many of the tracks complement each other on this collection, following the electrifying opener Fire In the Sky. While No More Tears boasts a pop harmony akin to All Saints, Give Me a Break has the sophistication of Portishead meeting a James Bond theme. The title track itself is a sultry piece of a production that could fit neatly into a classic black and white film noir.
As with previous Volenté releases, there’s much to enjoy and ultimately this is the singer/songwriter at her most real.
Lucy Spraggan – Choices
I must admit that I haven’t really listened to Lucy Spraggan’s output so far, but giving her new release Choices a digital stream (we rarely spin discs anymore), I know I’ll certainly be looking out for more of her material in the future.
The album seemingly captures the singer/songwriter at a crossroads in her life making personal choices about a variety of issues including relationships and faith. Choices was completed when a busy summer of scheduled appearances were cancelled as the result of the pandemic. The time spent on Choices results in a positive, insightful, uplifting collection of recordings.
Relevant and hard hitting, much of the subject matter is relevant to many of us as we look back on the last year of lockdown including subjects such as cyber bullying (Animal), relationship breakdowns (Heartbreak Suites), giving up drinking (Sober) and faith (If I Had A God).
Andy Howells, February 2021