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Amy Leeder – Solitary Girl EP reviewed by Steve Norman

Posted at on 14th July 2010.

As many regular viewers will know, I’m not the biggest fan of the singer-songwriter genre – something about the lack of booze, pyros, swearing, spandex and so on that doesn’t really do it for me as a live music proposition.

So I was intrigued to be asked to review Amy Leeder’s debut solo EP, Solitary Girl, by someone who knew this perfectly well, wondering what they knew they had up their sleeve that was going to stop me from quickly entering into the inevitable scathing rant.

Well, one thing that seeing these songs played live can’t reasonably provide, unless Amy would care to provide a private session, is absolute intimacy, and above all else that’s what this EP cries out; the live recording really generates an immediacy, and also a fragility, that shoved my preconceptions to one side within seconds.

Something else I’d never really picked up from Amy’s live performances before, probably because I didn’t really want to, and was busy moaning about people being on stage with just an acoustic guitar anyway, was the quality of her song writing. There’s a real maturity to these three tracks, especially in terms of how the vocals weave around the unfussy guitar lines and vice versa, almost as though neither came first; I’m making the assumption that one did!

Amy’s vocal style on this EP, particularly on closer and possibly strongest track, ‘Apprehensive’, does remind me of The Cranberries quieter moments, with notes being thrown around with equally natural abandon, but without the vilely exaggerated Irish accent, and maybe even a bit more depth at times. There were moments when I was afraid that she was about to go all “cockney street girl” at any second, as is bizarrely the vogue at the moment, but thankfully that never really went beyond a threat, and on second listen (yes, you heard right!), I could enjoy the whole thing without fear!

And enjoy it I genuinely did! Whilst until the day that Amy is spitting into her audience off the stage I’ll probably never be considered a fan, but I can recognise what is an outstanding talent today that can only develop into one more outstanding over the next few years, and ÔSolitary Girl’ is the ideal showcase. Check it out!