One of the things that unsigned artists sometimes tell me is that, when speaking to record labels and in particular major labels, the A&R people there will sometimes inform them that they, as an artist, still need to ‘find their sound.’ It’s an odd expression, suggesting that an artist only has one sound and it’s somehow hidden waiting to be discovered. Can you imagine David Bowie being told when he was just starting out that he wasn’t ready to be signed because he hadn’t ‘found his sound.’ If that was the case then he spent the whole of his career constantly trying to find that sound, as his musical style was forever evolving. I think often the expression actually just means something else: ‘What you are doing doesn’t match with what I’m looking for.’
If artists did just did have one sound their art would very quickly become boring – an endless succession of repeats. I touched on this in my previous post regarding the new Jungle material and that of their two new songs. Happy Man, whilst well written, felt somewhat disappointing, being essentially not that different to songs on their first record, whereas House in LA felt more exciting due to its progression stylistically – whilst still being recognisably a Jungle song.
Which brings me to Laurel, another artist that the ‘finding her sound’ description could be used to describe. Or maybe Laurel is just another artist, like Bowie, who likes to try different things and evolve. Maybe she's not trying to find anything except good tunes? Having first appeared as a folky Laura Marling inspired songwriter under the name Under The Laurels, she morphed into a balladeer of beauty – Britain’s answer to Lana Del Rey, then had a go at edgy pop before moving to something less processed, more stripped back and guitar based.
And as Laurel has woven her way through these different musical shapes and forms there has always been the question of when is there going to be an album? She hinted in interviews from last year that it would drop in 2017 but that didn’t happen. However finally in 2018 there is confirmation of a long player, titled Dogviolet, which will be released on the 24th August 2017 via Counter Records. There will also be an 11 date UK tour to support the record and this, a new single called Lovesick.
Lovesick keeps things raw musically and finds Laurel opening up her heart. She sings of obsession and addiction to a relationship, for better or for worse. She calls it love. “You’d be a love song, baby I’m lovesick, tasted the devil, now I can’t be apart from you.” The track reminds me a little of some of Nilufer Yanya’s recent output – managing to combine a certain effortlessness with an urgent passion that bodes well for the album when it arrives. Take a listen below.
Laurel - Lovesick