Posted on September 2nd, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Justin Goodman

Ella Eyre reminds me of the late, great Amy Winehouse. She has the molasses pitch, the vengeful bluesy heartbreak that’s slyly romantic, the explicit influence of Etta James, even the sharply defined and angled eyebrows. However, what her Deeper and self-titled EPs suggested would be the difference is clarified as such with her debut album, Feline. Winehouse was, for all her pop appeal, a jazz singer; Ella Eyre, for all her blues appeal, is a pop singer. Don’t get me wrong. Eyre’s Ellie Goulding approach to production – orchestral, halcyon, subtly baroque, and approachable – is a perfect treadmill listen, but it lacks the lasting power of Frank.

This might be a consequence of influences like the electro-dance duo Basement Jaxx, or working with drum and bass band Rudimental on “Waiting All Night.” While the former is slightly more unorthodox (Especially with the 2001 Rooty), “Waiting All Night” previews what would stand behind her voice on “Always,” “Comeback,” or “Worry About Me.” A punch, a step, dance bombast: I’m currently annoying my girlfriend by lip syncing to “Comeback” whose anger rising sharply at “just take that pain and let that motherfucker burn” is one part catchy and one part satisfying.

This is the substance of Feline. It vanishes in the dust of its own speed, its only ballad more necessary addendum than fitting. “Even If,” a ‘90s style piano-only woe about how “I know I’m glad I was able to be by your side,” that is, being more flashback than forward-thinking. There was a distinctly retro feel to Deeper and Ella Eyre that, now, is justified. Even on a lyrical level it is wrong; the titles are deceptively romantic (“Comeback,” I can’t emphasize enough, is a revenge fantasy. “All About You” is sarcastic and bitter. “Together” is about breaking up) except for this one track in the vein of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia, or “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. Female singers lamenting instead of standing apart, independent, and powerful.

For a debut album, Ella Eyre’s is neither remarkable nor despicable. It sits comfortably in the middle, rarely tripping, but not exactly skipping. It skips only in the sense of feeling like it ends too soon. And listening through again, it feels like you’ve listened to it only once. And that one time feels like it was stuck somewhere between two decades ago and the present moment of overabundant dancing.

Track List:

  1. Together
  2. If I Go
  3. Always
  4. Good Times
  5. Comeback
  6. Deeper
  7. Two
  8. Even If
  9. All About You
  10. Home
  11. Alone Too
  12. Worry About Me
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

60 / 100
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