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Elin Ruth - Elin Ruth

Elin Ruth

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FROM the opening song on Elin Ruth’s eponymous debut album, which takes the form of the single When It Comes To You, listeners might be forgiven for thinking that this offers a breezy listen.

Sadly, the track raises false hopes – for while that track is a deeply melodic and genuinely pleasant affair, the rest of the album is slightly more ponderous and sombre.

Ruth, 24, is being hailed as Sweden’s fastest-rising new singer-songrwiter – a talent who has been compared to Joni Mitchell, KT Tunstall and Fiona Apple.

In truth, her style could also be likened to Gemma Hayes and, at times, Katie Melua.

The album is ripe with folk and country elements as well and encompasses many instruments, from epic strings to mouth organ and horns.

When It Comes To You is certainly the pick of the long-player, thanks to its bright, melodic guitar riffs and catchy chorus which comes in stark contrast to the more tender, piano-based ballad style of Paper Cup Words, the track that immediately follows it.

Thereafter, the album charts fairly hit and miss territory as it explores some deep and meaningful themes in typically deep and meaningful fashion.

Yellow Me, a song devoted to the singer’s inability to take a risk in life or love, owes much of its style to the likes of Bob Dylan and Nick Drake (two of her inspirations), while If I is another weighty exploration of feelings, kicking off with such lyrics as “if I tried to abuse you, if I did you wrong, if I ever accused you of stealing my songs”. It’s constructed around yet another slow-building piano but follows too soon in the wake of Yellow Me.

Better, are the likes of Contradictory Cut, with its strong vocal melodies and easier acoustic style, or Where To Start with its nice stabs of harmonica.

Vocally, Ruth is undeniably strong – able to convey both hapiness and melacholy with equal aplomb – while there’s no denying she is musically adept – she plays guitar, piano and harmonica at different points as well as lead and backing vocals.

While her appeal is growing to such an extent that the likes of Jose Gonzalez are already fans.

But it’s worth noting before you venture out to buy it that this is more about meticulously constructed ballads than breezy, easygoing listening – and some of the songs that ensue are very ponderous and soul-searching indeed. Sadly, it it left me feeling fairly indifferent towards its charms.

Track listing:

  1. When It Comes To You
  2. Contradictory Cut
  3. Yellow Me
  4. Paper Cup Words
  5. Song For Anna
  6. Where To Start
  7. If Love Can Kill I’ll Die For You
  8. Showcase
  9. Gone Gone Gone
  10. Dear I
  11. Claudia
  12. Porcelain