It was 14 months or so ago that #TEAMw21 looked into our crystal ball and predicted Isabella Coulstock to be our tip for 2023. At that time she had many years of experience in playing live yet virtually no online presence of her music. This year has seen her produce two sumptuous EP's, one of them only available if you go to see her play, she has also released two fine singles and has played a number of high profile shows with the likes of The Who, and Jools Holland, Her recent show at the Stables, Milton Keynes is right up there for best performance of the year - it really was that good.
That night she promised one last single for the year and just as it seemed she was going to renege on her promise she has delivered "Love" and it encapsulates everything that is marvelous about her - perfectly showcasing her abilities.
For a start "Love" is totally uncluttered, there are strings, backing vocals and percussion that all add a little extra colour to the overall effect, yet it is Isabella and her keyboard that are to the fore and are the stars of the show. From the moment you hear Isabella take her opening breath, just sit back, absorb and enjoy every second.
"When we speak - and your lips are all I see
I want to tell you I need you, tell you I need you now!
But you're miles away, miles away somehow"
Can you tell - that it breaks me down?
So I lean into you, I lean into your arms
I'm reaching for you I reach into the dark"
In just those opening few lines there is a lot savour, the repetition in the first verse that is almost mirrored but not quite in the second and the skill in Isabella's phrasing especially the inflection on the word "down". Blessed with a voice that can convey any emotion,in tones rich and silky smooth there is so much to admire.
The song also touches on that most Christmas of themes, separation, a feeling felt most prominently at a time when families are generally gathering together. if you are one of those who perhaps for whatever reason cannot. Here it is distance being the divider, being "miles away".
"There's a broken heart that only you can see
Long departed memories
I knew him for a minute, took a lot of living through
And there's a photograph of the two of us
When all we knew about our love
Was in a book, you should have read it,
Never want to let it out
No we're never gonna give in
Never wanna give it up - Love"
The chorus seems to shift time forwards - with Isabella reflecting on what was, rather than what could be although the final line wants retain those special feelings. The announcement of the title of the song sees the arrival of angelic backing vocals.
"Save your words cause we'll meet again
Like the day in the sand, waves in our hand goodbye
Was it the late of the night, the wrong and the right that made you mine?"
The second visit to the chorus sees the arrival of percussion to add a sense of drama - yet as it draws to a close and Isabella once again says the title - the song comes to sudden end, as if being stirred from a dream.
This truly is the most welcome of Christmas presents.
Anyone in need of a New Years resolution? Number 1 should be Go and see Isabella Coulstock while you can at a small venue - don't say we did not tell you.
Love is available - Friday 22nd November