Friday 28 April 2023

Lottie Gray - How To Haunt EP

How To Haunt is the debut six track EP from Norfolk-born Royal Northern College Of Music student Lottie Gray, a beautifully constructed set of songs that marks her out as an artist of genuine potential who needs your attention now.

We stumbled across Lottie Gray supporting Del Barber at Retro in Manchester and were struck by a number of things - her voice and its ability to shift between different styles effortlessly, the strength of her songwriting and the joy she gets from both performing and watching, supporting and learning from other artists. With two singles, Daffodil Baby and Get Lost, preceding this six-track debut EP, it was with some excitement that we pressed play on the soundcloud link that Lottie sent us.

What’s evident across the six tracks is that our first impressions were correct. This is one of the most impressive debut releases we’ve ever heard. The songwriting is impeccable, lyrically pointed and powerful, and with depth and diversity of sound that both grabs you on first listen and holds your interest. There’s so many ideas teeming out of these songs that they never stand still and with Lottie’s impassioned vocals leading the dance.

Belong Somewhere starts with a rolling piano that provides the underpinning drama of the song. Evocative vocals ask the question in the chorus - “how do I choose to belong somewhere” - as Lottie searches for the answer to one of life’s most difficult conundrums. 

Daffodil Baby follows starts with a sparse backing that really allows Lottie’s vocals to take centre stage, the emotions in the words  pouring out as she demands “pick me, choose me, hold me” then the song shapeshifts in the second verse before turning back to the chorus. Beautifully produced to enhance the tension and uncertainty in the lyrics as it weighs up the risks of falling in love and putting your heart and self on the line.

The Wide Wide World picks up the tempo without Lottie skipping a beat. The layered vocals in the chorus are an earworm as she ponders those that “ignore the wide wide world” and live through what they see on their TV screen. 

Get Lost is a gloriously vitriolic two fingers to a guy who has done her wrong and making no effort - “I need nothing from you, so just take all your stuff and get lost. Get lost in the jungle, the city, the desert, I don’t care." With verse vocals recited like an answerphone message and an uplifting chorus, it’s a potent statement of empowerment.

For One slows the EP down, piano-led which allows Lottie’s voice to sit centre stage again and to dictate the emotional impact of the song, the assured range of her voice leading the way. Lyrically it ponders the difficulties in opening yourself up to others - “i hate that my heart was only built for one, it’s a shame there’s so much I could give to everyone” - before strings and piano take over and take the song to its conclusion.

Technicolour Ghost finishes off this impresssive collection of songs and brings together many of the musical strands that have gone before it, building slowly and growing, looking back at her life from birth to now, asking questions and pondering the complexities of love and the uncertainties it brings - “I could be both the winner or the loser… I could be your lover if you chose but I’m just your technicolour ghost.”

How To Haunt is an astoundingly impressive debut offering. Often new artists might dazzle with a single and then struggle to follow it up, but Lottie has six songs here that betray that this is the start of her musical journey. Equally at home in the quieter moments or when the beat kicks in and the songs gather pace her vocals really emphasise the words she’s singing and transport you into the storylines and situations. Musically ambitious but instantly accessible the songs have the potential to appeal to a wide audience. Listen to the EP and you may be bearing witness to a star being born.

Lottie Gray is on Facebook and Twitter.

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