One of the first casualties of the ongoing pandemic was a lovely looking show at The Pheasantry which would have seen Laura Evans and Jenn Bostic on the same bill along with Jeff Cohen in what would undoubtedly have been a quite splendid night. where possibly some of this EP may have featured - alas we'll never know.
#TEAMw21 have seen Laura many times playing at her regular successful slot at The Troubadour, and we loved her single of last year "Heartstrings" however nothing quite prepares you for this EP which sees Laura head off into a number of hitherto unchartered waters. it is almost a showcase EP, as it displays the wide range of talents that she possesses and some of them are going to surprise even her most hard core of fans.
The opening track "Drag Me Back In" is like nothing we've heard her do before, scuzzy guitar, power drumming and a distorted confrontational vocal sound all go to make a most intriguing and arresting opening. This is a rockier, angrier harder edged Laura than we are used to and she's not happy about a relationship breakup "I let him clip my wings do dirty stupid things, I let him take me and my souls in danger". Despite the previous breakup there is an acceptance that love will once again "grab me by the heart and drag me back in".
It also comes with a highly entertaining lockdown created video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHzmM0dxl7g&feature=youtu.be
If the opening track was a little rough around the edges then "Running Back To You" is the complete opposite, a super slick polished pop performance with a smooth soulful feel and a chorus that is a definitely impossible to forget once heard. The lyrics paint a picture of someone who knows they are stuck in a cycle of permanently being on the edge of the big break up yet unable to take the final step "maybe this is our last goodbye", though realising "trying to break this chain of mine been through it a million times".
Interestingly the final track of the EP is an acoustic version of the same track, it's still a quality song however perhaps in this less busy format Laura shines through a little bit more but make no mistake both are excellent versions.
The third track "Mess Of Me" is a return to a piano ballad, and apart from a small amount of backing vocals that is all you get. If you are going to do a piano ballad who better to draft in than Jenn Bostic, and together they create something spectacular. It wowed us when we first heard it at the Troubadour last year and it retains every inch of the power it had that night. Don't be fooled by the super grand piano intro though, the talons are out for the killer first line "I traced every trait you had I hated! kept going over all the things we left unsaid" but this is much more complex than a diatribe against an ex.
There is confusion and shock at the extremes of emotions being experienced "if I really dodged a bullet then what's this hole here in my heart?", she can tell others why the relationship was wrong but can she convince herself when she's alone - this is an adult complex take on a break up and therefore rings all the more true because of it.
When Laura really belts out "I used to be unbreakable, strong and free and sensible now, I can't help myself" the feelings of disbelief are palpable. It is a superb performance in which Laura is able to show light and shade in her vocal performance, and can move from a soft delicate whisper to all out power ballad mode with seeming ease.
The final side of Laura on display in this quite diverse EP initially sees her return to her pure country roots with a simple acoustic guitar and vocal opening, before "Take Me Back Home ( Aberdare)" gradually builds into a gentle pop song highlighting her love of her Welsh roots. "my heart my soul my everywhere" where for a while she can dream of a perfect life "little land lot of love couple of kids and the Lord above".
An EP that showcases Laura's talents to the full and she seems equally adept at each of them.