There is never a shortage of talent in music but sometimes someone comes along to leave mouths open within a wave of musical and creative magic. Such a person is Maz Totterdell, a singer/songwriter so immense in promise and already realised talent that it is frightening. At just fifteen years old she releases her debut album Sweep on May 28th through Series 8, a collection of songs and artistry to catapult her in to headier skies from the already acclaimed plateau she graces. It is not just the music and songs which impress but the remarkable maturity to it all that belies her years. This is a life yet to truly live and as the album caresses and lights up emotions and thoughts the sense that once Totterdell has felt the experience of life in its full there will be nothing she will not be able to portray within or bring to her rich and deep creativity.
From aged nine Totterdell was performing at open mic nights in her home of Devon, the following year saw her in the final of UK Unsigned at the Hackney Empire. At eleven she turned to writing her own songs and teaching herself the guitar and within two years was playing her own compositions to eager audiences in local venues and festivals. First single came in the shape of the excellent Counting My Fingers, a song that found dedicated and persistent play on Radio 2 and 6 Music through the likes of Sir Terry Wogan, Steve Lamacq, and Radcliffe & Maconie. Now with Sweep it is hard to imagine anything but a full thrust of affection and praise flying her way and upon the album, the astonishingly striking and deeply pleasing.
Counting My Fingers opens up the album to instantly light up the senses, its eager heart an immediate infection. The semi acoustic sway of the song has a mesmeric effect upon the ear drawing the warmest reaction and participation to its addictive chorus and energy. Musically it is uncomplicated and maybe unadventurous but that is its charm and the perfect canvas for the excellent vocals and teen angst Totterdell unveils.
New single Heart In Your Pocket steps up next to continue the great start. The song is a slower emotive piece of folk pop which wraps its almost pleading energy around the ear with a gentle yet firm intent. Predominantly the songs are Totterdell in voice, guitar and/or keys with the accompanying skills of a few aiding the realisation of her imaginative and passion drenched invention. On this song amongst those helping is Paul Bateman on bass, his delicious distant growled notes in the shadows of the song bringing an edge of disruptive peace and happiness and instils a resonance and depth to the track.
The likes of the excellent Delirious which sees Totterdell hypnotising thoughts with voice, harmonies and guitar alone, the sneaky Lazy Day and a song far more addictive then you initially realise, and Willow (Angel Child), all leave one immersed in pleasure and lingering satisfaction. The latter of these three is a folk gem as instinctive as they come with simply stirring emotive violin assistance from Sarana Verlin and the first song that Totterdell unveils her full potential, its glorious seeds of astounding promise ahead firmly planted.
As much as the whole album delights and impresses the final two songs seal the fullest captivation. The Leaver’s Song is a stunning piece of songwriting which leaves one glowing in respect, adoration, and anticipation for the years ahead. From its gentle guitar and voice intro the song beckons with a tenderness and enchantment that gives an irresistible platform for the melancholic breath that lies on every note and chord. As the song fills out into its full height the power of the song and Totterdell are astonishing. It is impossible not to feel it in every sense and emotion. She captures the same majestic mix of sound and passion that the Scottish band Letters conjure and it is the mightiest moment on the album.
The closing Little Puzzle, a cheeky little gem of a song with mischievous melodies and childish percussion, simply leaves one with sunshine in the heart and smile on the face as the album waves its goodbyes. It is an aural sunset that offers the promise of an even bright day ahead, something the whole album does in sound and promise.
Sweep is wonderful, a true pleasure. The scary thing is that Maz Totterdell is far from the finished article, many aspects of her skills and craft are open to improvement but one knows that will come with experience and dare one say age. To be so impressive and produce music like this already is staggering and yes frightening of what she should achieve in her future. Cannot wait!