Laura Elizabeth Hughes EP Review

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laura-elizabeth-hughes-whelans-26Laura Elizabeth Hughes – EP

With over 1.5 million views on her YouTube channel, it’s fair to say that there has been a bit of buzz about Dublin singer-songwriter Laura Elizabeth Hughes over the past year. Released with the help of a Fundit campaign that was one of the most highly supported campaigns ever on that site, Hughes delivers four sophisticated songs of heartbreak and lost love on her self-titled debut EP.

There are probably many who would roll their eyes and think; ‘not another heartfelt singer-songwriter’ but Hughes’ incredibly well crafted songs mark her out as something different from what can sometimes be a banal and bland crowd. From the start of the first song 8:7, with the opening lines ‘Scorn my love and scorn your heart/With empty chains and words unspoken,’ Hughes’ hauntingly beautiful voice demands that you stop whatever you’re dong and listen intently.

Her voice and lyrics are her biggest assets and they are wisely brought to the fore throughout the EP. The arrangements are kept nice and simple, allowing the listener to focus on the powerful vocals and soaring melodies that illustrate the singer’s extensive range.

Paper Thoughts is a tender ballad that pleads to someone to open up because ‘the bitterness you hold is burning through your bones.’ It features some nice string flourishes that add depth and atmosphere to the arrangement while lyrically it’s mightily impressive.

That lyrical talent is also evident on the highlight of the EP, Who Is That Stranger, a song that perfectly encapsulates the experience of the last dregs of a failing relationship. By the time Hughes sighs ‘I tried to fix us but couldn’t stop the world from tearing us down’ you can’t help but have the urge to give her a big hug and tell her everything will be alright. But you get the impression that this is a young lady who could live a hundred lives of hardship and still come out smiling defiantly with no such comfort required.

The closing track, Recall, has a slight whiff of Julie London’s Cry Me A River about it. It features some jazzy, gently finger-picked chords and the interesting musing that ‘nobody falls halfway.’ It’s a fine song but perhaps lacks the emotional punch of Who Is That Stranger which perhaps should have been the closing track. Having said that, if the worst that you can say about a record is that you’d slightly alter the running order then you don’t really have a whole lot to complain about.

Laura Elizabeth Hughes has built a sold foundation with this release and hopefully she can keep building on this momentum and it won’t be too long until we hear more from her. Her YouTube following shows that there is an audience with an appetite for her work and she is most assuredly one to watch for the future.

See also: Laura Elizabeth Hughes at Whelan’s – review and photos

Review by Mark O’Brien

 

Lucy Ivan

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