Review Archive

‘Ain’t Like ‘Em’ debut EP from Anielle Reid - the difference is stunning

(January 21, 2015)

One listen to the debut EP ‘Ain’t Like ‘Em’ from Anielle Reid is all that’s needed to know you’re Debut EP from Anielle Reidlistening to something exceptional. Describing herself as an ‘urban banjoist’, you could add ‘city girl’, ‘singer-songwriter’ or ‘African-American female’, whichever you choose, any restrictive or categorising descriptions are unnecessary and ultimately pointless. That’s because you need to understand that on ‘Ain’t Like ‘Em’ you’re hearing ground-breaking banjo-based music that will utterly sweep away any preconceptions about the banjo and the type of music it produces.

For a start don’t confine your thinking to bluegrass or folk, don’t run down definitions of country or blues – they are simply too restrictive. Instead, clear your mind and prepare for an imaginative fusion. Weld country to folk, combine blues with rock, and then drive the result through an intense measure of accomplished banjo playing backed by a rocky folky flair. Add sharply observant lyrics with a powerful voice delivering some luscious vocals and you’re getting close – even so, you still have to prepare to be entranced by Anielle Reid. The combination is unquestionably Americana, the originality fresh as morning’s sunrise and the difference is stunning.

The EP begins with ‘Someday’ and it’s like someone left the door open as a potent mix of musical and vocal ‘originality’ pours in, ‘Secrets’ follows and it’s equally strong, both in lyrics and melody. The depth of Anielle’s songwriting just keeps on coming, through the title track ‘Ain’t Like E’m’, with its narrative brimming with presence, the emotive edge of ‘Better’ and the feeling-soaked ‘Morality’.

There are always artists that occupy a place on my radar, with ‘Ain’t Like ‘Em’ as a first point of contact it’s certain Anielle Reid will find a permanent place. The EP releases 15 March, you can find out more here:

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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