60’s soul getting an alternative rework.
Ruth Lyon’s debut EP ‘Nothing’s Perfect’ sets out her stool as a singer-songwriter who wants to dabble both on the poppier side of things whilst throwing in some beautifully sincere ballads too. It speaks to the diversity of the songs here that I came in from single ‘Paper Aeroplane’ expecting a piano-pop collection and I left thinking I’d been to a musical buffet.
Piano pop is definitely alive and well here. Ruth Lyon caters for that with two tracks. Lead single ‘Paper Aeroplane’ is a beautiful ballad that showcases her higher register as if it is being squeezed dry. Along with simple piano chords, glassy synths and warm backing vocals, it feels sincere, pretty and indie-cute. Opening ‘Little Blue’ is my favourite track on the release though as it is bold piano-pop – a personal sweet spot for me. Dramatic drums, heavy synth strings and a roaring undertone to Ruth’s vocal show just how diverse even the piano-pop world can be. I’d be happy if Ruth Lyon stayed in and around that genre but Ruth has other ideas.
Instead, Ruth takes her soulful voice and places it into catchy soul-pop number ‘Fast Food’. It’s happier, laid back, bass riff-heavy and has a jazzy cabaret chorus about drinking cherry cola. It’s a real left turn to anything else on the EP and is a mainstream radio hit in waiting. It feels timeless in a way that Amy Whinehouse would bring soul to pop. The two voices and styles aren’t a million miles away either but the time the whoops and brass join in. ‘Lemon Tree’ takes that 60’s soul vibe a step further with playful pizzicato strings and a poppy swing to the chorus. New single ‘Motormouth’ then throws in a talkier RnB twist to things to expand the palette further.
Whilst Ruth Lyon’s voice and the constant presence of a piano somewhere in the mix joins everything together, I’m still a little non-the-wiser as to where to place Ruth Lyon’s music as a whole. It’s not a criticism, it’s an observation. I think this will be an EP where different songs will be wildly stacked up in different orders of favourite to least favourite because of how each one has its own identity and style. As a lover of angsty piano-pop, I’ll recommend ‘Little Blue’ as your starter and see how you go from there. If you love Amy Winehouse though, pick ‘Lemon Tree’ or ‘Fast Food’ instead and work the other way. Ruth Lyon has got plenty of talent though, of that there is no doubt.
Recommended track: Little Blue
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