Like a fresh breeze across a sultry summer embrace, the vocals and debut EP from Helene Greenwood bring seductive joy on a smouldering emotive landscape. The Break is a five track evocative kiss on senses and thoughts from an artist who enchants and seduces with a craft of songwriting and vocal persuasion which leaves the richest warmth inside as it evokes reflection and imagination.
Hailing from Dover and now Camden, London based, Greenwood initially began her musical career as a contemporary composer studying at The Royal Academy. The birth of her daughter in 2005 led her to exploring her songwriting and more narrative based lyrical music. With a music degree from Royal Holloway under her belt she studied singing with internationally acclaimed singers Nia Lynn and Anita Wardell as well as songwriting with Gretchen Parlato in 2011 at Stanford University. Taking inspiration from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Björk and Feist as well as jazz singing, Greenwood finally is at the point, ahead of her full-length debut Collectable You, where she is introducing her music to the greater world building on her brewing recognition across venues in London, the lady regularly performing at Proud Galleries in Camden and also at Stanford University Coffee House.
Released on her own label Washaway Records, The Break is a riveting emotional sun of elegance and melodic grandeur brought in the gentle caress of honest observation lyrically and unfussy beauty musically. Produced by band-member Calum MacColl (son of folk legends Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger) and featuring James Hallawell of The Waterboys on keyboards, as well as Martyn Brabbins (Billy Bragg/Beth Gibbons) on drums and Arnulf Lindler (KT Tunstall) on bass, the five song spark of aural light marks the emergence of a remarkably promising artist.
Opening song Break In Break Out makes a play for the emotions instantly, the vocals of Greenwood a radiating sunspot against a wonderful cello croon from Lindler. It is a melancholic yet vibrant invitation with the keys of Hallawell crafting a classical emotive elegance within the already enthralling hug. Once the song erupts into a full wind of melodic passion the song looks to the skies with colour soaked beauty, the trombone of Jonathan Enright another impacting suasion on thoughts and feelings. It is a wonderful mesmeric start matched more often than not across the rest of the release.
Certainly second song In Between Days stands side by side with its predecessor in potency and glory. A cover of The Cure classic, Greenwood strips down the song to make it her own, so much so that it took more than a few moments to realise what it was. She brings a new strain of melancholia to the songs enthralling glide through the ear with the keys weaving a sensitive and provocative ambience to add to the emotive depth and the guitar of MacColl sculpting its own emotional shelter. The song sways and calls the heart like a courtly temptress but it is the majestic vocals which guides the listener into the richest beauteous climate. The keys are also exceptional as they paint another narrative to share further the heart of the song whilst the drums of Brabbins bring a climatic swell to proceedings as its finale brews in riveting fashion before calming before the last touch of the song, a last gentle brush of its melodic lips.
In The Sunshine and After the Fire continue the aural and perceptive fascination, the first a soulful melodic drift across reflective horizons and equally creative thoughts whilst its successor, an initial duet of vocals and keys, blooms into a jazz lit flame of almost noir shadowed life and inspirational enterprise. It is a stunning song which could soundtrack any life at some point in time, revealing its hope, dark, and reality.
Closing song is another cover, this time of the Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom written Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread). One of our all-time favourite songs we set high demands on any version and though it is arguably the least successful song on the EP, Greenwood again gives it a new fire and bed of sentiment which is impossible to resist, as is the smouldering melodic wrap of her again mouthwatering voice.
The Break EP is one of the most startling introductions of any artist in a long time and Helene Greenwood at the start of what you can only suspect will be a swift ascent of melodic and creative passion spawned innovation. We suggest all hitch a ride now and stand ready to enjoy the forthcoming rewards of the first album Collectable You; we have a feeling it is going to be something special.
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