Kerri Watt - Neptune's Daughter
It seems to have been an eternity since the "Cut Me Loose" the first single from this album was released launching a new exciting sound and vision for Kerri Watt. Always a solid songwriter with a keen ear for a hook, she has taken those skills and teamed up with producer Machine and the results are nothing short of breathtaking. Prepare to go on a musical journey like no other, at times you'll find yourself in another world where seemingly separate genres crash and collide into each other to make something completely new. It's highly possible that Kerri may lose a fan or two along the way but those that see the journey through to the end will be rewarded with rich treasures and will surely be replaced by many new fans wanting to hop aboard the Kerri Watt express!!!
It all starts with screeching guitars and heavy pounding drums that may have some thinking they have the wrong song, however this is the intro to "All The Worse For Me". Kerri when she joins is slightly distorted and it is attention grabbing stuff.
"Moving with the darkness cos the darkness feels so right - I can see the danger but i don't want to run and hide
I can taste the poison bur i still want to take a bite I should climb a mountain I should run towards the light
Kerri sounds completely at home fronting this heavy rock sound
"Kissing Fools" in contrast starts with a lively piano intro over some electric guitar chords and the sound of a tambourine being firmly thwacked before the drum roll kicks us in to take us into a sea of backing vocals setting up the rhythm of the song. Its a fusion of styles blended together to make something unlike anything else, those backing vocals, the upfront guitar lines and of course Kerri's teasing vocals. At its heart is a soulful sixties song that has been melded to a rock guitar to make something unique.
Co-written with Jeff Cohen, it's a flirty little tale of a meeting at a night club, with a sultry undertone that at times leaves little to the imagination. It has the feel of teenager finding their way in a coming of age film,someone who wants to
"sneak a little smoke with a drink or two".
The lyrics as mentioned are more than a little cheeky! there's a teasing little line about what will happen if there's a raid "and when the cops come knocking and it's time to go back to your place ........ or mine" or when she playfully teases
"Straight out of a movie scene but we don't have to keep it PG if you know what I mean"
Finishing with a breathy vocal over a tinkling piano this is simply irresistible
Kerri introduces "Chasing Aeroplanes" with a distorted vocal line more reminiscent of something like the Eels on "Susan's House" with the line "This song came from a place deep in my soul, in my mind"
Recorded live with a kick ass band, it has a lovely raw feel about it, just listen to the drumming or the glorious pounded piano running through the track let alone the backing vocalists, these is simply so much to pick out and savour.
Lyrically it deals with the issues that we all have to deal with at some point like having a family, as the opening couplet goes "Do we all feel this way when we see those tiny hands - will there ever be a day when we just know?" and how that balances against living your own life or having your own career first. Kerri settles for hoping that
"When I look back on where i've been I can smile and say I'm happy".
For sheer unbridled entertainment it's heart to beat "Band Of Gold", not a cover of the Freda Payne tune, but equally as soulful and with a chorus that demands you sing and clap along with it.
The title track "Neptunes Daughter" opens to an upbeat jazz piano but fairly soon it once again proves impossible to define, part gospel, part Spector's Wall Of Sound. With so much going on it should sound muddy and cluttered but this is beautifully layered and textured and simply so full of energy.
"Cut Me Loose" which came with a simply unmissable video, as we mentioned at the start was the lead single from the album. A year later it sounds as fresh and inventive as ever. The whole album has a cinematic feel about it and none more so than "Hellfire" which has something of James Bond about it, it's on a huge scale replete with Kerri giving her all on the vocals to spectacular effect.
In something of a change of pace and another quirky fusion, for "Spoonful Of Sugar" we have a new wave choppy guitar over which Kerri delivers a spoken vocal, In many ways it is completely mad with the most prominent bongo sound we've heard in years!
"Jessie" is another of the singles that Kerri released that made 2020 such fun. Once again infused with a relentless rhythm the refuses to give in. "Jessie" provides an interesting insight into Kerri's storytelling songwriting process for it finds it's initial inspiration in a character Lucy from Leslie Bricusses "Jeckyll & Hyde". From there we get a somewhat cautionary tale, a folk ballad if you like in many ways, but Kerri's pop sensibilities are never too far away and so this somewhat dark tale is matched to an exuberant bouncy chorus.
Jessie's tale is sketched in quite bold strokes, everything we find out about her places her on an inextricable path to an early grave "Jessie was a girl of the night with auburn curly hair Jessie sang and danced for rogues and regals", she's abandoned by her family and gets by dancing in a seedy "dirty dying bar".
You Can't Catch Me is the final burst of funky good time fun, it is the song that captured our attention and hearts at the O2 at C2C 2019, where Kerri was simply a ball of energy in front of a funky wall of sound. All of that energy and exuberance has been perfectly captured, and just listen to the joy in Kerri's voice and the many madcap guitar lines running through the track.
The album closes with all bells and whistles removed with "I Wanna Sing For You" and we are left with a quite beautiful piano ballad, which has only a quiet gently played guitar for company. Inspired to be written by the loss of close family members, every second literally reflects the love and esteem in which they were held. Performed and sung by someone giving absolutely 100% to ensure all aspects are correct.
The final "I'm going to miss you" is simply heartbreaking.
As if to prove that this is not just a case of style over substance at least half of the songs come with acoustic versions so that you can see how the songs sounded prior to their transformation. The attention is thrown from the production of the album versions to the lyrics and their bare bones that formed the initial structure.
"Chasing Aeroplanes" becomes a piano ballad, with a little acoustic guitar backing and some outline backing vocal effects. The acoustic "Cut Me Loose" retains its core inventiveness and is still quite intense, this version comes as a duet with Samuel Jack providing atmospheric vocals. The acoustic guitar version of "Kissing Fools" perhaps puts lets accentuation on the more salacious lines instead extracting an even more soulful vocal from Kerri. The acoustic version of "Band Of Gold" proves to be just as impossible to ignore, still maintaining its party feel. Stripped of its cinematic backing "Hellfire" becomes even more enigmatic, with Kerri's voice even more to the fore. Closing the additional tracks with "Jessie" which possibly stayed closest to its original creation, completes the icing on a quite splendid cake.
If there is any justice in this world this album deserves to be huge, it's clever, inventive and delivers in so many ways - it may only be January but already an early marker for one of the albums of the year - it really is that good!"