There can be few people who loved Laura Oakes’ first acoustic EP more than #TEAMw21 so the news of a new acoustic EP was cause for celebration. In recent times, Laura’s recorded efforts have been on records by other UK artists such as Raintown and Thorne Hill, as well as quite stunning duet on Steve Black’s “Dance With Me” on his “Right Here And Now” album.
The EP opens with a great new song “Glitter”, which fairly bounces along led by an incessant drum and banjo beat and some wisecracking lines that can’t help but raise a smile. A fairly viscerating dismantling of someone not worth wasting any more time on, the rose tinted glasses are off and every fault is visible, “I didn’t need your life story” especially when you "conceal everything that puts you in the wrong light”. As if this EP wasn’t already excellent, it would be worth buying this track alone just to hear the number of ways Laura manages to avoid using possibly offensive words by hastily starting the next line.
“Nashville Stole Your Girl” is an explanation to a jilted man as to how the lure of Nashville has made him single. The first verse sets the scene, “girls with wings are always going to fly away” but it is the second verse, which mixes Country stars and their songs to justify the reason, ie “Blame Willie he was the first one to tell her she was always on his mind”. The rolling chorus is built around a number of knowing Nashville references “the McPherson guitars and Honky Tonk bars”, before it reaches the final line of the chorus, the title, that is then echoed by the guitar riff. Laura’s vocal on this is exceptional and it is clear to see why this is the title track.
It must have been a priceless moment when guitarist Pete Darling, announced to Laura that he’d written a song about her and that is was called “Lazy”. It probable helped when he explained that the follow up line was “I just make it look easy”. On its own that might come across as being a bit arrogant however the final line sets it in context “and it ain’t easy believe me”.
The final original song on the EP has been a staple part of Laura’s live appearances for nearly a year now, “Better In Blue Jeans” comes with a cautionary tale of how progress up the corporate ladder can affect a relationship, it is also surely a lyrical first use of the phrase “undiluted highfalutin”! There are a few other lyrical gems such as “You got a tailor now, but you don’t measure up to your old best” but once again the real diamond is Laura’s voice, the angst as she sings “Who the hell is this?” or the final “Why did you change?”. It’s a great little song with a chorus in two parts, the second part providing an audience singalong opportunity in live shows
Anyone who has seen Laura live, will know there is always a high chance that there will be an “Elton John” moment. For many years it was “Rocket Man” but for this EP she has wisely gone with a lesser known song from his “Blue Moves” album called “Cage The Songbird”. This track is possibly closest in sound to the previous acoustic ep as there are no drums, just an acoustic guitar and mandolin, leaving the space for the main instrument, Laura’s voice which gives a performance that would surely have Elton nodding his head in appreciation.
Without doubt a worthy successor to the last EP showing both lyrical and vocal progression. With some other new songs already appearing in her set let's hope it is not too long for the next installment.