Sometimes the review game can be really rewarding; you hear great new music and get to write about it.  Sometimes it can be really frustrating.  Guess which category this EP from Ellie Lawson falls into?

But let’s get the facts out of the way first.  The EP is out on November 15 and there are 5 tracks: “Lost Without You”, “Change the Way”, “How Hard We Try”, “Friends” and “Ba Ba Da”.  You can get all the official material on Ellie on her Facebook page including samples from the EP and a free download.  Just out of interest, why do we have to “like” something before we get the chance to hear it?

So why is it so frustrating?  Well, the first song “Lost Without You” is a good example.   From the outset, it’s obvious that Ellie has a strong and very distinctive voice; you could justifiably compare it to early Joni Mitchell.  The trite subject matter of the song (escaping from the debauchery of the celebrity lifestyle) is such a cliché that the power of such a great voice is almost completely wasted.

The cutesy arrangements on “Change the Way” and “Ba Ba Da” don’t help.  Ukulele and whistling might have seemed like a great way of sounding distinctive, but the finished product just sounds affected and twee and certainly not the best way of showcasing a strong and original voice.  But that’s only 3 of the 5 songs on the EP.

“How Hard We Try” is built on a trip-hop feel with a nice acoustic guitar figure to push the song along and “Friends” is a much more traditional arrangement with acoustic guitar and strings.  It’s a personal opinion, but these songs work much better because they use a more traditional framework.  These 2 songs are enough to show that Ellie Lawson is a genuine talent and she should be a success in her own right in the long term.
This EP has a feel of the clever kid at school who wants to show how varied their influences are and how many different styles they can work in instead of a showcase for a great vocal talent and that’s what’s frustrating.  With a different set of songs and less quirky arrangements, this could have been a great introduction to an artist with a truly original and memorable voice.  I’m sure that there are better things to come.

After several years honing her craft in the US and Amsterdam, South London Singer-Songwriter Ellie Lawson returns home to release her phenomenal ‘Lost Without You EP’ on 15th November 2011.

Ellie’s story can be seen as a modern tale of overwhelming talent being discovered while travelling America. This led to a whirlwind courtship by the US entertainment industry including being signed by Atlantic Records, taking meetings with Rap mogul Russell Simmons, Billboard Magazine describing her music as “the perfect marriage of melody, rhythm and words” and appearing on Ellen DeGeneres’ hugely popular TV show where she explained, “I play her music over and over again in my house…I predict she will be the hugest, hugest star.”

Ellie Lawson – Lost Without You by Cannonball_PR

The tide turned, the industry changed and Ellie decided to respond to a call to work with leading trance DJs like Richard Durand and Ferry Corsten in Holland by co-writing and adding her vocals to some of 2010/11s biggest European dance tunes, including ‘Safe From Harm’ with 4 Strings which was #1 on Beatport for 5 weeks consecutively and ‘Wide Awake’ with Richard Durand which was #1 in Music Week’s Cool Cuts Chart in January 2011.

Ellie has decided that now is her time to come into her own and enjoy the sort of success in the UK she undoubtedly deserves. This self released EP is a great place to hear what all the fuss is about and with another EP planned for next year with acclaimed Communion Records co-founder and super producer Ian Grimble (Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Everything But The Girl, Manic Street Preachers) Ellie clearly has a big year ahead of her.

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