As the old saying goes you should not judge a book by the cover and so when Vic (toria?) Allen approached the merchandise desk at Buckle & Boots 2017with a clutch of her EP's sheepishly saying she probably wouldn't sell any, I did find it slightly intriguing. Later in the day I managed to catch a little of her set which once again was a little surprising, in that I was not necessarily expecting her to be playing with a violinist or with quite so much skill and aplomb - not sure why she had a sudden lack of faith in herself - on completion of her set a steady stream of customers headed to the merchandise stand to pick up the EP so was pretty sure it would be something special.
The opening 70 seconds or so of "When You're Not Around" again possibly set the stall out for what I was expecting - acoustic guitar strumming with a kind of floaty almost folky voice over the top but then the rest of the band kick in and the song turns into a perfect pop song, with some lovely little guitar hooks and a beautiful musicality that is of an exceptional quality for a debut EP.
"Bird Of Prey" is a lovely piece of high paced power pop that once grabs the listener from the very start. With driving drums, and some thrashy guitars this is once again high quality stuff. A warning about a predatory female who "swoops down on unsuspecting victims". with a "pretty smile that she's faking"
The third song, "Real" once again spins the wheel of expectation, and is a piano led song with some acoustic guitar and a string section over which once again Vic provides a lovely vocal performance.
It follows a relationship through from first meeting to the moment when it becomes something special when your partner has "Ocean eyes".
The title track "The Missing Piece" is about finding the person that makes your life complete even if you don't know it. That person once met becomes impossible to be without. The songs ends with a great chorus with Vic providing layers of backing vocals to complete the song. It's a short little song coming in at under two and a half minutes but there is lots going on from the interesting drumming to the little guitar flourishes that punctuate the song
The EP closes with "WIthout You Here", simply built around two guitars, one acoustic and one electric and some quite heartfelt vocals. Vic pleas for her lover to come home, she still wears his "old blue t-shirt"" so as not to feel like he has gone.. The plaintiff vocals as Vic sings "I want you home" are filled with yearning. It's slightly dreamy and hypnotic and closes the EP out perfectly.
With a new single "Bittersweet" due on 12th July this is someone deserving your attention!