By the time this EP lands, Grace Kelly will have played Buckle & Boots 2023 and may well be the name everyone is talking about - her EP launch will follow the next week and it really is something rather special.
She hails from New Zealand but has now relocated to the UK and some of that upheaval filters through into the material, as is the fact that her influences may well be slightly different to many UK artists.
Grace has a voice that is knowingly assured and confident for one so young - she is not rock, she is not country yet she can easily be both and much more between - she won't be easily pigeon holed.
The opener "Carry On" is one of the songs that reflects her uprooting - it plays with the double meaning of the title and is one of those songs that flirts between pop, country and essential singer songwriter.
I knew it from the start, that this is going to be F***ing hard"
This is dealing with leaving a relationship behind wondering if it can really survive - Grace's voice on the chorus is divine - that steely determination on the delivery of the second line - it may hurt to leave but I am still going!!
"I wish I could bring you in my carry on
But my flights in an hour and I've got to get gone
I'm hoping for things to go back to how they were before
Now I just lie - just another kiss goodbye
After all this is said and done I hope we find the strength to carry on"
The "Carry On"'s are repeated in the backing vocals to make an additional hook
Grace's delivery of the second verse is snappy and sensational and again there is an expression of hope
"You promised me from the start - you'll hold on even after a broken heart"
As Grace sings the second chorus the fiddle is allowed free reign to go anywhere it likes in this fantastic opener.
"Supermarket Aisle" is the latest single and it is one that thrusts us immediately into the action
"A kiss that got turned down
Cos i got the right person right now
He's the exhale I've been needing to breathe out"
Musically there's a nice modern sound to the verses between the percussion and guitar
Any thoughts you had a handle on Grace instantly disappear with "Guilty Pleasure" which is a sort of new wave sound with fiddles - The guitar is delightfully retro,
"A guilty pleasure feels so much like home"
In a somewhat unusual move the last two songs are the same - "For Us To Change". The first is a low fi version captured on a phone by her then boyfriend - it is a fragment of a song and has a definite charm to it, starting with a little laugh in the intro and also when with Grace singing, she nearly breaks into a laugh on those opening lines as if feeling a little embarrassed at revealing her feelings - her voice is kind of dreamy.
"I love taking a nap in your bed - and coming up with a list of things instead that I love about you,
but I'm not yet in love with you"
The essence of the song is there but as it comes to an end, the recording captures Grace again for a fraction of a second as if something has come to her as she has played the song.
It was only post relocation that the song revealed itself fully to Grace and we get to see it develop into something totally different - the initial fragment still remains although the acoustic guitar is now joined by a warm double bass, violin and keyboards - Grace retains her dreamy style of delivery for this opening verse - in fact it even now has a companion second verse for which a drummer joins gradually building up the overall sound.
The end of the second chorus see the arrival of some power percussion battling with a violin and Grace's previously serene delivery makes way for an equally matching power vocal. If there is one tiny criticism it is probably that the acoustic guitar sound seems a little too far upfront in the overall mix obscuring Grace, that might hide a lyric or 2 but does not take away from the overall power of the piece.
The EP closes with just Grace and her guitar ""I'm sorry I had to change"
It's an EP full of invention musically and lyrically that immediately marks Grace Kelly as one to watch