Reviews

‘Bedlam’ from Kelly Oliver - songs that touch you deep inside, cause eyes to water and hearts to rise

(January 26, 2016)

Some artists arrive with the force of a tornado, their music hits somewhere you always wanted to go but the burnout can be equally spectacular, with others their music grows on you, develops and often becomes a standard against which others are kelly oliver bedlammeasured. The music of singer/songwriter Kelly Oliver falls into both categories with the power of its arrival and its continuing presence, and were I a betting man I would make a sizable wager that its longevity is assured. With her debut album This Land she arrived in a rush and swept all before her, now with Bedlam’, the early promise is fulfilled, the sound has developed and it’s clear how far this gifted and talented singer songwriter has come.

The title track holds the melodic strength and piercing lyrics we’ve come to expect, an achingly poignant story of a girl incarcerated in the hideous Bedlam asylum for nothing more than having an unwanted child and subjected to the practice of people coming to ‘view’ the lunatics in ‘Bedlam’ ... a truly harrowing tale. By contrast ‘Lay Our Heavy Heads’ has a jaunty lightness and reveals a supremely catchy song about love that exudes happiness and optimism, and then ‘Jericho’ arrives, and it’s clear exactly how Kelly’s music has developed. The ‘girl-with-guitar sound’ has changed, the production is fuller and wider, involving musicians like Stu Hanna, Nigel Stonier and Laura Deakin Davies, and her composing skills have flourished.

Intensity of feeling is always present in Kelly’s songs, perfect examples include ‘In the City’, the profound sadness and devastating realisation pouring through ‘The Other Woman’, the understanding within ‘Ghosts at Night’ with its different look at relationships, and with its unrelenting angle on the human condition ‘Die this Way’ uncovers the ultimate wretchedness of children involved in conflict.

Kelly Oliver writes songs that touch you deep inside, cause eyes to water and hearts to rise. The songs on ‘Bedlam’ will remain by your side long after the album has finished. Find Kelly Oliver here: kellyoliver.co.uk

Review: Tim Carroll

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