Lauren Edman released her debut album “It’s Always the Quiet Ones” earlier this year and after dipping into a couple of genres alongside other artists and bands, it’s nice to see what standalone Lauren can do.
Opener “Wasting” is a nice juxtaposition of serenading wispy vocals alongside a gritty bassline. The track doesn’t go for the jugular, instead it chips away at making an atmospheric haze, much like a reminiscence of drama gone past. I love the vocal montages that appear here and also in “Slate” which brings Lauren’s soft vocals to the fore while swirling piano echoes and percussion is faded to the very background to create a dreamlike soundscape. The result is hypnotic and heady. “Change” then rolls back to electronic pads and a more dramatic tom heavy drum loop. Even in these more dramatic tracks Lauren’s vocals remain like a siren – warm, soaring, delicate and enticing. “Be The Light” is the first track that breaks that mould as Lauren lets her reins go in the choruses in a beautiful song full of lots of interesting quirky electronic keyboard effects.
“Sweet Girl” reminds me strangely of Soft Cell due to the metallic pulsating rhythms that the song exudes. It’s the closest the album gets to a straight forward single with simple chord structures and an immediacy to the track as a whole. “Red Wings” is a softer ballad full of lush vocals.
“Desperate Times” sounds almost like a musical with its chord structure on the piano and along with “Silent” form a more olden edge to the album. The latter specifically has the piano and banjo have a certain filter on them to sound almost honkytonk ! “This Is It” gives us the first acoustic guitar lead track on the album with an excellent use of the banjo to act out the lead melody. I really connected with this track and Lauren’s vocals hit the spot perfectly. The closing track “She’s Not Here” is a beautifully broken down track with sparse piano for verses slowly thawing into fluid melodies and vocal collectives for the choruses.
Lauren Edman’s début is beautiful from start to finish. It’s one of those albums that you’ll listen to the first time and it may not grab you immediately but then that is where the album title comes in. The album is quiet and sparse. It will chip away at you and suddenly you’ll have favourites on repeat without really noticing or picking up some of the expertly penned lyrics. Then you’ll realise that is was the quiet ones that got you all along.