Fiona Bevan - Talk To Strangers (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
FIONA Bevan has already drawn comparisons with artists as highly regarded as Lianne La Havas, Erykah Baduh and Joanna Newsom. You could add Katie Melua and Morcheeba’s Skye to that list too and find enjoyment in her debut album, Talk To Strangers, if you’re a fan of any of those artists.
A timeless collection of 12 songs, this comes steeped in classic songwriting qualities, while offering a highly appealing showcase of a very talented new singer (and that’s someone who has already been remixed by Mr Hudson and Ed Harcourt and who regularly writes with Ed Sheeran!).
The songs on the album flit between folk-laced pop, chillout, jazz and soul and are all extremely accomplished. It’s lyrically intelligent, too, as evidenced by album opener and former single Rebel With A Cause, which Bevan was inspired to write following the London riots.
She explains: “I wrote Rebel Without A Cause just after the London riots, which left my street smashed up and smoking. It made me think of listless teenage frustration and the feeling of not knowing what to do with yourself… So, I stole the James Dean title, and used it as a backdrop for a love song about escaping.”
Further highlights follow. Another former single, The Machine, unfurls amid some beautifully intricate acoustic guitar licks (which have an almost flamenco feel), a smoky set of vocals and then drops a beguiling back-beat.
D For Denial, meanwhile, aches with the pain of someone not admitting to the truth of a failing relationship… fusing those impossibly sweet vocals with some nice back-beats and a killer chorus (you’ll want to throw an arm around her when she sings “just don’t tell me it’s over and I’ll be alright”).
Monsoon Sundance has a warm feel attached to its acoustic arrangements and soulful vocals, Talk To Strangers has a low-key blues-rock vibe that again impresses and there’s more sweet-pop melodicism all over Pirates and Diamonds (which even finds Bevan adopting a cheeky vocal reminiscent of Lily Allen). This one has future single written all over it, such is it’s easy-going accessibility.
But then Bevan seldom puts a foot wrong throughout. This is a debut album to really sit up and take notice of.
Download picks: The Machine, Dial D For Denial, Talk To Strangers, Pirates & Diamonds
Watch the video for Rebel Without A Cause
Watch the video for The Machine