Amanda Mair – Amanda Mair (LP Review)
Review by Jack Foley
AMANDA Mair’s rise has been impressive. Discovered at the age of 15, she’s now only 17 and already has an eponymous debut album to offer. And it’s pretty catchy too.
She actually started singing at the age of four and has since picked up the bass, guitar and drums, lending her drumming skills to a school band who specialised in covers by hard rock band Hellacopters.
For her own debut, however, she’s opted for straight forward pop with a slightly Swedish stance. So, what you can expect is a sharp selection of pop songs with just the occasional nod to some of her contemporaries such as Lettie, Robyn and Lykke Li.
She therefore combines radio friendly mainstream values with something a little more indie, making her music more cool to like than some girl bands we could also mention.
The standout tracks on her debut LP include the former hit single Doubt, which has a baroque pop tendency and a genuine catchiness, as well as the energetic Sense, which is delivered with genuine zest and bounce. You’ll be humming along within the second or third listen.
In contrast, however, Mair is able to deliver a telling ballad as evidenced by the stunning Skinnarviksberger, a tender, piano-backed offering that’s utterly beguiling. Given her youth, it’s also delivered with a remarkable poise and maturity.
The bulk of the LP is, however, devoted to more straight-forward pop, with Before wearing its Scandinavian pop tendencies on its sleeve with endearing fashion, as well as more introspection from the singer herself. It also boasts another of the LP’s highly melodic, ultra-catchy choruses, with the inclusion of strings subtly realised so as not to overdo things.
There are, almost naturally, occasional tracks that feel more generic and underwhelm but that’s perhaps to be expected, especially when dealing with anything ‘pop’.
But in the main, Mair is an extremely endearing presence. Her vocals are achingly sweet (yet also incredibly mature) and her ear for a melody is spot-on.
Hence, there’s enjoyment to be found in other tracks What Do You Want, Leaving Early and Said And Done (the latter of which even cheekily hints at a heavier, rock-pop vibe).
You’ve Been Here Before, meanwhile, proves that the earlier ballad on the album was no fluke… another heartbreaking piano-based offering, it’s further compelling proof of Mair’s astonishing vocal prowess.
Download picks: Sense, Doubt, Skinnarviksberger, Before, Said And Done