Poppy Fardell's arrival on the UK scene has been somewhat meteoric, announcing herself with some high profile London shows supporting Vic Allen's EP launch and then a slot with the Write Like A Girl team at the Camden Chapel, as well as two great singles, one of them "Hayley" certainly featured among our favourite singles of 2019.
One of the stand out songs from her live shows is now her latest single, "I'd Better Start", possibly her most overtly country sounding song yet. Starting with just Poppy's vocals and an acoustic guitar, her writing immediately sets the scene with a quite powerful couplet and describing an awful lot happening before we have cleared the opening 12 seconds.
"Broken mirror, empty place, last weeks mascara still running down my face"
The song deals with the process of moving on after a break up, the acknowledged path you are supposed to follow or as initially in this song the realisation that perhaps you haven't progressed at all, "ain't moving forward ain't even on the road". The band fully kick in on the chorus and the song moves on to another level "I never did drink whisky i don't like the aftertaste sure as hell ain't keeping busy got too much time to waste" ending with Poppy facing the stark reality of her position and that "there's a few things i'd better start".
With a heart on her sleeve style of writing, there's an open honesty etched into each line that carries the song along "If I don't start i'll get left behind and i'll never get him off my mind". The production on the record is great, instrumentation is a basic guitar, bass and drums and a well placed piano but not a note is wasted and Poppy appears later with some neat additional backing vocals to embellish her splendid lead.
The bridge sees the band get to make some noise and Poppy producing her best recorded vocals to date while lyrically there's a transformation and a positivity in her outlook, "Don't want to watch a life go by I want to make it mine" and the chorus undergoes a significant change as regards her feelings about whisky! There is a lot of songwriting skill and production technique on show such as the way that the double chorus at the end is handled.
This single is only going to enhance her growing reputation, and it is going to be fascinating to see what else she has up her sleeve in 2020.