Olivia Lane returns with a new 6 track EP fully delivering on the promise that she showed on her last visit to the UK with a mixture of sounds and topics. The strength in this EP from start to finish is Olivia's ability to tap into some universal themes and then create songs that demonstrate just how clearly she is able to empathise, with the situations that she is singing about. When we last saw her at Two Ways Home's Round Up, we said she sounded like "she was on the brink of making a quite special record" - that record has well and truly arrived!!!
The EP opens with the first single "So Good it Hurts", a real feel good single extolling the virtues of her other half. In terms of sound it is possibly the least conventional of the EP, with the verses consisting of some snappily delivered lines over a pulsing electronic note. the one thing shining through being her love for partner. along with the warning "Anyone can look but can't touch". It is full of some great lyrics like "He's got that James Dean thing but redefined ain't nobody like him from here to any County line"
The second track "The Cape" is something a little different announcing itself with some distinct guitar work. In it Olivia wishes to transport back to an earlier time to regain the fearless spirit she had as a child "When she would take on the world and always won". She finds herself asking "When did the magic turn into logic?" before making the assertion "I'm taking it back". It's a joyful track, full of positivity
If there is one song that is absolutely going to strike a chord with many listeners it is "Friend's Don't". Perfectly capturing those tricky decisions that need to be confronted in such a relationship. It initially starts relatively innocently, the opening exchanges are open to interpretation
"When you bought those drinks tonight did you mean to brush my hand?" or "When I caught you staring at me why didn't you look away?"
i know we're just friends at least that's what we say". By the next verse the ante is most definitely upped, the dress chosen and the lipstick worn are designed to take things to another level.
It is leading to the moment where they must decide to "risk everything they are for the chance they might be better together or might wind up on their own". With a killer tune and Olivia just capturing the sentiment perfectly.
For "Let It Hurt" Olivia takes on the role of agony aunt passing on the advice that it is better to release emotions rather than keeping them in, as she says "Let the tears do the work". Once again she seems to be perfectly attuned and empathetic and her advice seems fairly clear, "Its ok to not to be ok, to get through it you've got to go through it and let hurt". With a relatively simple production , the star of the show is Olivia's vocals which seem genuinely tender and concerned, with a mellifluous lilt as whe works her way through the chorus.
Another clever piece of writing is the title track "The One" in which a woman lays out the number of stereotypes that she does not want to fall into, "the one that you call when you're lonely", "the one you use for a break up" she just wants true love and to be "the one". For many that may have been enough to hang a song from however Olivia injects a note of realism into the character, this person is in a relationship that seems doomed to endlessly repeat and this comes through in a moment of self reflection "You blow me away like the smoke from your cigarette, you pull me back in like a habit that I can't quit, I thought I was playing it cool but now i'm playing a fool". Once again Olivia is able to ground the song in reality and tailors her vocals accordingly.
Closing out the EP is "Not Know" is another song that many will associate with, not having a master plan for life and just letting things happen and embracing them "Life don't happen when you stay the same". As with a lot of her writing the song has the touch of reality about it and it accepts that although "We've all got things that keep us at night" that its ok to not know "where you're going, where you'll end up" and that "every cross roads needs crossing".
Six distinct songs forming a quality EP of real insight attached to a batch of great tunes, one can only hope that she returns to these shores soon to promote it