Album Review: Laurel – Dogviolet

The long-anticipated debut from East London-based singer-songwriter Laurel boasts twelve tracks devoted to the dark, obsessive side of love and proves to be a compulsive listen.

laurel - dogviolet artwork

Laurel first burst onto the blogosphere a few years ago with a strain of cinematic pop-noir that drew a lot of comparisons to Banks and Lana Del Rey. These days, guitar in hand, she’s moved on to a bluesier indie sound yet still captures the same emotional essence that drew people to those early recordings.

The near melodramatic emotional intensity gets its start on album opener ‘Life Worth Living’ (side note: would recommend texting the refrain ‘you make life worth living’ to your current flame and seeing the response) setting the tone nicely for the rest of the record.

Singles ‘Same Mistakes’ and ‘Lovesick’ are notable highlights and have great chorus hooks. The real star of the show though is ‘Adored’, with a delectable darkness to its vocal layering and a fierceness that feels indebted to PJ Harvey. Laurel doesn’t hold back and her distinctive voice has a grit to it that follows in the illustrious footsteps of Harvey and Stevie Nicks.

Her voice takes centre stage again in the stripped back musings of ‘Sun King’, with her cries of ‘All I have been dreaming of is you / Now what is life but a dream’ showing off her poetic chops. Album closer ‘Recover’ has a similar yearning, yet tinged with hope. The refrain ‘are you still coming back to me’ feeling like less of a demand and more of a wish. The toxic obsession fades yet love remains.

Dogviolet showcases Laurel’s haunting, cinematic indie pop and is a testament to her growth as an artist. Self-produced and written in her home-studio, she’s stepped out from the shadows of the Lana Del Rey comparisons that dogged her early material to craft something that sounds distinctively like Laurel.


Lead image: Andrea Mae Perez