Ella Eyre releases solid debut album without surprises
Ella Eyre’s road to the release of her debut album Feline was long and bumpy. Delay after delay in release date was announced, but now it’s finally there. She made an impressive debut with collaboration ‘Waiting All Night’ with Rudimental, which was her first UK number 1. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter scored another huge hit with ‘Gravity’, which she recorded with DJ Fresh. Yet, all her solo singles failed to make the top 10 of the British charts, partly explaining why the release of the album got postponed multiple times. Now that it is actually out there, it reached a respectable fourth place in the charts and although there are no surprises on the record, it’s a solid debut.
The downside of trying multiple singles before the album release, is that by the time the record is out, more than half of the songs are already known. Therefore there is no real surprise element when listening. The first part of the record mostly consists of all singles, all still as powerful as when they were released and I still don’t understand why the solo efforts never made it to the highest chart regions. ‘If I Go’, ‘Good Times’ and ‘Together’, although sounding somewhat samey, all had contemporary drum and bass productions, explosive choruses and those raw and delicious vocals by Ella which are capable of taking every track to a higher level.
The second part of Feline contains more ballads, on which she shows she can convey every emotion with her mature voice. On the touching ‘Alone Too’, she sings to a person going through a tough time, which she herself experienced too: “I’ve been behind the walls you made… I’ve been behind the doors you’ve closed… I’ve hidden where you feel safe, cause I’ve been alone too.” ‘Home’ is a beautiful ode to her family and the place she comes from with a captivating melody with some strings and a choir. On ‘Even If’ she makes clear she sounds just as good with only a piano to back her up. When listening to these strong slower tracks, you realize she and her team could have released one as a single earlier on for a bit more variety in her sound.
However, whe have to be fair and admit that Ella comes across best on her uptempo tracks with a feisty attitude. ‘Comeback’, on which she confidently declares that the boys who leave her ‘Always come back’, definitely is the smash that should have been but never was, with that banger of a chorus. ‘All About You’ is a track on which she elegantly burns down an egocentric ex-lover. On the album closer ‘Typical Me’ she calls her actions ‘the fuck-up of the year’ when she is unable to cut herself loose from a bad boy and she does it ever so powerful with an in your face chorus and raw vocals. Feline is a strong debut album that follows a clear line in terms of style and is full of strong pop songs with distinctive and insanely powerful vocals. In terms of variety in single choices and release strategy, there is room for improvement for Ella and her team, but the vocal and writing talent is there, so I still see a bright future for this young singer-songwriter.
Must listen: Good Times, Together, Home, Alone Too, If I Go