Robyn Sherwell: Robyn Sherwell review – intimate and confessional electro soul

(Birdland)

Not too many singers can survive the scrutiny of singing accompanied only by the barest of instrumentation, but for much of her debut, the Guernsey singer-songwriter Robyn Sherwell does just that. In this impressive collection of confessional electro soul, the musical backing often consists of a solitary piano note, an acoustic twang, a single echoed drum stroke or her own vocals, multi-tracked, which creates a breathy intimacy. If the minimalist music nods to Sade and James Blake, Sherwell’s emotional range has a hint of Tapesty-era Carole King. Bat for Lashes producer David Kosten mixes things up a little, turning up the pounding drums for the autobiographical Islander and adding keyboards to the gorgeously wounded Broken. Perhaps there could have been more such variety; occasionally things edge towards samey blandness. Still, the likes of the terrific, redemptive Heart, the crystal-voiced Tightropes and Sherwell’s beautifully stilled take on Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide suggest the first flowering of a significant new voice.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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