Lauren Bannon is a fantastic young singer from Bournemouth, signed to the indie label Mid Tone Records. Last night a friend and I went along to the Soul Cellar in Southampton to see Lauren and her guitarist Chris Pearce perform two great sets for her EP launch. Below is a review of the two tracks from the EP 'Turn to Brass'.
Shaky - Bannon's sultry vocals have a great mature sound for her tender years; a real soulful nod to Amy Winehouse. Shaky tells the story of a modern day Romeo and Juliet couple (minus the poisoning part) assuming the lovers are still alive and kicking in present times. The vocals are immediate which is great; the impact is sudden and gripping. I love the ad-lib vocals on the upbeat chorus; it's a great acoustic guitar riff and the sound is simple yet effective. The nuances in Bannon's vocals don't go without notice and, although subtle, work perfectly. The song's got a great feeling that just makes you want to dance; my head is nodding and although the shaker/tambourine part works, I'd love to hear the song develop with some drums and bass behind it. The overdubbed backing vocals are wicked over the last chorus, sitting nicely behind the lead vocal and although the ending is busy, this works well, however the final end to the song sounds a little abrupt.
Turn to Brass - The vocals are even more gripping here; the tone to Bannon's voice is sublime and I've got good feelings about her future career in music. It's a really professional sounding voice, honed wonderfully and the eerie cello accompanies cool picking guitar to create a great arrangement. This is the song that works fine without drums; the bass of the cello sits really well with the high pickings of the guitar. The vocals ooze passion and feeling and hurt, it's a great vocal performance from Bannon and when she really pushes her voice just before the end it's a really special moment in the song; you know the climax is near and you don't want it to end. A really touching, almost haunting song.
I really enjoyed Lauren's EP, although feel, at least based on this, her live performances suit her far better. That's not at all to take anything away from a great CD, but if you really want to see her at her best then live is definitely the place. Even having to compete with a noisy upstairs club last night in the cellar of her launch-night venue, the performance was fantastic and really worth checking out for yourself. Her presence onstage is almost seductive, and her voice carried to the back of the room and beyond.
You can hear more from Lauren Bannon at her Myspace page and find out where she's playing soon. Lauren Bannon is signed to Mid Tone Records.