THIS year has seen some wonderful…
PHOTO CREDIT: Marieke Macklon
solo artists shine through and provide kaleidoscopic sounds. I have been especially impressed by Greentea Peng, Charlotte Day Wilson and Sam Fender. It is a very busy and exciting year, and I am looking forward to seeing how music looks next year. One artist who is on the rise and making big progress is Liz Lawrence. She released her new album, Pity Party, on 25th October and you can buy it here. Lawrence was formerly part of the duo, Cash+David, and has toured with Bombay Bicycle Club. Lawrence has been tipped as a name to watch and, with a fresh album in the ether, a lot of people are very excited. Lawrence is an artist who suggests artists such as Marika Hackman, St Vincent and Perfume Genius, but she has her own style and unique angles. None of My Friends is one of my favourite singles of the year and exemplifies what an exciting and interesting style she has. I really love Lawrence’s voice and how her songs are relatable and stay in the brain. Although Pity Party is a fantastic album, I think Lawrence’s best work is still ahead of her. Her finest songs are among the best out there, but this is an artist with many years ahead; someone who is growing and will be a massive name. Lawrence is proud her album is out there – as she should be! – and fans are reacting to it.
I want to bring in an interview she gave to NME, where she was asked about Pity Party and how it feels having it out there:
“You must be thrilled with the album and being at this point after your journey so far?
“I’m massively excited – you always get to this point where you’ve looked at it for a long time and now people get to hear the record in its entirety. I’m quite old fashioned, streaming and stuff is great but I do like the idea that someone is going to get the full picture, that’s really cool. I’ve never seen one of my releases in a record shop before so I’m really excited to go down to a shop and find one. You’ve got to right? You’ve got to go and hunt out your record.”
This record is very much all about honesty, tell us a little bit about the concept of ‘Pity Party’?
“Obviously it’s a phrase that I’ve heard people use. I was in a particularly self-indulgent move and someone said, ‘I’m a bit bored I’m going to leave your pity party’. I thought that was perfect because it sums up that tension and pull between serious aggravation and obstacles in your life and also how you approach them and how much you indulge your feelings towards it. Also, it’s just funny, I was quite keen to be a little bit humorous with this record. It has some weighty issues but I hoped to approach it with at least a bit of warmth and humour”.
Lawrence, for Pity Party’s creation, wanted to make an album on her own terms. Writing six of the songs in only five days, there is an urgency and sense of risk that pays off. She wanted to move out of her comfort zone and see what could result. What we hear is an artist unleashed and explored her full potential. As I said, I think Lawrence has her best years ahead, but Pity Party is a fantastic album and one that deserves a lot of kudos and attention. The album has been picking up some positive reviews. Thank Folk for That were keen to have their say:
“‘Navigator’ is the natural single on the record. A jaunty rhythm, colloquial wordplay and a clap-a-long chorus to die for make this the most memorable track from the record, but there is certainly more complex offerings to come and ‘None of My Friends’ pummelling basslines, distorted analogue interludes and evocative synth tones suggest darker subject matter along with more explicit reference to Lawrence’s eighties influences. The marvellous ‘USP’ reinforces her penchant for the unexpected by throwing a britpop aesthetic into the mix.
PHOTO CREDIT: Marieke Macklon
These new songs are enhanced by incredibly rich vocals; there is also sense of absolute control on display; perhaps this is what differed in the live performance which felt much more unruly. The result of this is beguiling though, never more so than on the stripped-back ‘Shoes’ which is a heartfelt bout of introspection accompanied by a lone guitar. The contrast is jarring and over way too soon before ‘Want’ takes us back to the 90s. Here, the references begin to feel just a touch stale but thankfully ‘Life Again’ restores Liz Lawrence’s knack for a melody along with some visually satisfying songwriting and ‘What People Do’ maintains this. In some ways this is very typical English fare and the electronic embellishments contribute to this impression. This approach connects her new record to time spent in the synth duo Cash + David and this is never more evident than the wonderfully sweeping and metronomic ’10 Breaths’, where the combination of guitar and synth soundscapes compliment each other perfectly and it is during these moments when Liz Lawrence’s vocals really hit that sweet spot”.
If you want to go and see Liz Lawrence play, keep an eye out and make that date. She has had a busy 2019 and I am sure there will be a lot happening for her in 2020. I am predicting festival dates and, maybe, there might be the odd new cut here and there. I do think this year has been defined by female artists; Liz Lawrence is among the very best out there and someone that you need to keep a watch out for. I want to bring in a final interview, because Lawrence spoke with Wonderland about Pity Party and what she wants people to get from it; whether she has plans for the future:
“Do you want young people to listen to your music and be inspired by or relate to it?
I guess it would be really nice to feel like you can be empowering to people, whoever they are. But it’s not just teenagers – I think most people who have come to me about “None of my Friends”, for example, are people in their mid-to-late twenties, and they’re like ‘oh my god, that is my life, those are my friends’…
Do you put yourself in a genre, or do you feel like that’s an outdated mode of categorisation?
I think you have to – if you want to be savvy, you need to be able to very quickly market yourself. And that’s not me being cynical, it’s just if you really care about what you do, you need to find a way to explain to people very quickly why they should listen to it. It’s not a thing that many artists ever really get there with being able to do, ’cause it’s really, really hard. It’s sort of like trying to describe yourself in three words, or whatever. But I think indie-pop is fine; I tend to go for that.
What do you want from this in the future? Is it just to be happy and make a living out of it, or do you want that stadium tour?
I mean, I don’t think I’d be content with just being content. My friend asked me when I finished this record what I wanted from it, and all I could think was that I just want be able to make another one, and then who knows from there”.
The future is very bright for Liz Lawrence. Although she is keen to tour and work with other artists, the fact she has stepped out on her own gives her music more of a personal voice and sense of truth. I think Pity Party is one of 2019’s underrated gems and I am thrilled Lawrence’s fanbase is growing. Give her a follow if you can – links are at the bottom of this feature - and show her some love! It is a busy and crazy scene right now where some marvellous artists are shining and surging. In a crowded and exciting sea, Liz Lawrence is well worth some affection and time. As Pity Party shows, she is…
SUCH a talented songwriter.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Marieke Macklon
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