British singer/songwriter Eska released a three track EP in 2013 and is finally about to release her first album in March. Her beautifully soulful voice is silky smooth and she doesn’t always go for the obvious arrangements for songs. I think that’s why she is going to be a hot new breakout in 2015.
“Red” opens with some dissonant tuned percussion and folksy guitar before it breaks into a more traditional sounding band but the swirling guitar and interesting production effects keep the track shimmering and light yet not entirely happy. There’s a real harshness and burning anger in the synth work and some of Eska’s vocal deliveries. However its the chorus that allows Eska’s freeform voice to shine. She is able to sweep across octaves with ease and without ever sounding like a diva. She has a depth to her voice that makes it instantly full on. As she declares in the middle “you have to forget all you’ve learnt” she’s literally rinsing every nuance out for all it’s worth. There’s no autotune here either and it’s all the better for it. The other two tracks are “Arrogant Heart Part 1” and “Part 2”. The former is a low fi recorded folk track that sounds so deep in the forest you can barely recognise the words yet completely understand the jam (think Larkin Grimm) whilst the latter takes the same track essentially and completely cleans it up. The voice and guitar are crystal clear and it’s funny because they both have their own merits.
“Gatekeeper” is an exciting introduction to Eska and I can’t wait to hear more from the upcoming album. A new alternative folk British star could well be born.