It’s easy to fall into the trap of lazy comparisons when reviewing new artists. You hear a woman’s voice rise a smidgen above a B# and your brain immediately starts screaming ‘KATE BUSH KATE BUSH KATE BUSH KATE BUSH!!!!!’. A British female singer dares to stray into that current darling of genres- soul- for just a fraction of a second, and Adele’s beaming face plonks itself stubbornly in your mind next to Amy Whinehouse or even (if you’re really screwed for inspiration and can’t be arsed to look back more than 2 years into the past) Jessie J. *rolls eyes*
And thanks to Ellie Goulding monopolising the whole ‘quirky voiced emoto-warble’ area of the singer/songwriter/soppy chrimbo advert market over the past two years, any female singer who now happens to play an instrument on stage with a combination of poppy sheen and folky wistfulness immediately gets bundled into a stuffy cupboard with the starry eyed lady herself.
Hattie Murdoch- a young songwriter based in Newcastle- has already had her fair share of Goulding comparisons, and on first hearing her clear, distinct vocals- part elfin innocence mixed with steely grit and just a hint of her Lincolnshire accent- it’s not hard to see why. Delve deeper into the music however, and the similarities soon begin to dissipate. Like Goulding, Murdoch writes her own songs and enjoys the odd guitar strum on stage along with sprinklings of electro dust here and there, but there’s also a darker, gutsy edge to Murdoch’s music which you could argue Goulding’s lacks.
Her debut EP ‘Ocean Floor’- released in August 2011- contains three tracks with an eclectic mix of dark synth (Black Shadow) twinkling electro pop (Submarine) and beautiful reflection (Won’t Back Down). It’s an impressive introduction which demonstrates her love for a wide range of musical genres including hip hop, dance and jazz; elements of which she subtly infuses into her songs like a deliciously dark and smooth cup of Twinnings tea.
Murdoch has become a familiar face on the Newcastle live circuit and a notable buzz has been building around her for some time now. The taster track for the EP- Submarine- peaked inside the top 3 on the Amazing Radio chart (a national radio station dedicated exclusively to playing emerging and independent music), and with her varied tastes and ability to experiment with her sound, it shouldn’t be long before she’s casting off those Goulding shackles and navigating her own way through the heaving tide of folky female synthtronica that she began to make a splash in in 2011.
The “Ocean Floor” EP is out now and available to download from iTunes (with an exclusive bonus track): http://bit.ly/qz4zwp and all good download sites. A CD version is available from here: http://hattiemurdoch.bandcamp.com/