There’s a depressing inevitability about much ofthe current batch of singer/songwriters ‘gracing’ thecharts and airwaves. Yet one of the more accomplishedis Lucie Silvas, who continues to deliver her ownsongs with an untempered, undecorated emotion. She’sno slouch on the piano either, a quality that caughtthe eye of Sir Elton John soon after the release of her debut album.
The Same Side is her second record, and though itfeatures a bit more studio pampering, Silvas’ bestassets shine through, namely her voice and her pianoplaying. Not for her the anguished whining of aJames Blunt, or the empty over-emoting thatcomes easily to Nerina Pallot. With Silvas, youcan be sure that what you get is coming straight fromthe heart.
It’s a brave start to the album, too, not the bigkiller anthem but understated single Last Year,surprisingly low key as it makes the observation that”you don’t gimme the words I wanna hear”. It’s not theonly part of the album that finds Silvas questioningand worrying. She seems to be dwelling on something ofan enigma, that finds her wondering that “you’re stillhere but you’re already gone” (Already Gone) or that”we’re together, but I’m still alone” (Alone).
It’s an indication that lyrically there’s more tothis album than meets the eye. Counting finds an innerresolve, Silvas convincing herself that “I won’t letall these silly things bug me no more”. Elsewhereshe’s digging in, and holding out for happiness. Aloneagain – “So just give me space, some time away, it’s aplace only for me but I’ll be back again”.
The production leaves room for Silvas’ vocals andpiano but finds opportunity for a nice cello line hereand there, or a lightly applied Hammond. And yet, withall these good things to note, the feeling persiststhat this album is going to do some serious time inthe coffee bars.
And why’s that a bad thing? Because a lot of themusic in coffee bars is drained of all feeling andspark, an over-comfortable place to be while you’rewaking up. Silvas hits that effortlessly – maybe tooeasily. For while The Same Side has many good things,and easily outperforms a lot of the soulless foddercurrently on offer, it doesn’t quite hit the ToriAmos edge she occasionally aspires to.