When TMB’s James reviewed Brooke Bentham’s ‘Oliver’ last year he pointed to the quality of her voice and mentioned “the gentle strum of her acoustic guitar and strings, allowing it to soar.”
On ‘Heavy and Ephemeral’ her new single, and the first track to be taken from Brooke’s forthcoming debut EP, the voice is still in fine fettle but the tone of the song is quite different from its predecessor. Gone is the morose timbre of Oliver, to be replaced by an – equally soaring – anthemic alt-rock ode to passing ships that berth side by side in the night but are gone by dawn, underscored by a strong and catchy synth hook, driving percussion and, if you listen carefully, a pretty handy piece of piano elaboration towards the end that promises much for live performances.
Both these tracks have real quality, whilst being so dissimilar that they could be the product of separate artists, and that’s a rare talent.
The general consensus on her voice seems to be that she possesses the same emotional vocal depths as Sharon Van Etten or Angel Olsen. While I wouldn’t disagree for a moment I doubt it will be long before newcomers are being compared with the qualities of her chops.
If I sound enthusiastic, I am. I hear a lot of new music and this one reached out and convinced me on the spot that it had that little bit extra. I confidently expect this song to be lodging on playlists pretty soon if it isn’t already.
While Newcastle and Sunderland fight it out for inclusion in the Premier League this South Shields lass is very close to establishing herself at that level. And there’s nothing ephemeral about her; on this evidence I expect she’ll be around for a long time.
This review comes just as she embarks on her first tour, in support of John Smith, whose own new album is out in May. See below for full dates.
29/03 Komedia, Brighton
31/03 Howard Assembly Room, Leeds
01/04 Upper Chapel, Sheffield
02/04 The Glee Club, Birmingham
03/04 The Phoenix. Exeter
04/04 The Lantern, Bristol
06/04 The Union Chapel, London
07/04 Dancehouse, Manchester
©D J Bentley, 2017