Vic Allen - I Can
Recent events could not really have come at a worse time ( not that there is ever a good one ) for Vic Allen. With some real career momentum going off the back of a great EP launch and an endless run of excellent singles, added to that her work with the Write Like a Girl team was equally growing in stature. Having performed in the US at the Song Suffragettes 6th anniversary show in March she was booked to do a UK tour with Kalie Shorr, Candi Carpenter, & Bellah Mae ending with a career so far defining show at London's Bush Hall
Hopefully that show will get rescheduled at some point in the future however for now we have a new single in the shape of " I Can" written immediately in the aftermath of a break up, it does include some of Vic's most brutally honest writing to date especially when you see the context of the title in the lyrics.
Production wise it is all change for Vic as well with WLAG occasional guest performer and songwriter extraordinaire Sue McMillan sitting in the producers chair this time out. The sound is also accordingly a little different this time round, refreshingly clear of any electronica the most obvious comparison is a Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" vibe. It is amazingly uncluttered to listen to, there are some guitars, bass and banjo over a drum beat but remarkably little else apart from as ever Vic's attention to details on the vocals both lead and backing which succeed in elevating the track.
Lyrically we join Vic soon after the break up, lying on the bed seemingly unsure if she has done the right thing yet knowing there is no turning back "the Oh My God I really done it feeling!" . There are a couple of rhyming short line sections that work really well before the chorus nails the song down with it's cutting final line "I wish I was crying that I just can't live without you - but the truth is I can". It's not said with bitterness or in anger and if there is any regret it is that they cannot still be friends, Vic knows there is no return and kills the very thought of that stone dead with the "but we can't" line.
Musically there is much to admire, just listen to that banjo line picking its way through the track or those little electric guitar flourishes that are sparingly used but are incredibly effective. the song is beautifully constructed, just notice the way the chorus is subtly different on its final outing, the backing vocals on the bridge or indeed the way the song suddenly falls away at the end, all things that go to make it memorable. Vic's vocals perfectly capture the mood of the lyrics and include some of her best captured singing to date, hitting the right note between feeling sorry you've hurt someone yet knowing you've done the right thing.
This is almost certainly Vic's most accomplished piece of writing and performing yet, and for an artist who is always pushing to go that extra step further this may well open many opportunities in the future - it certainly should do.