Album Reviews

Lucie Silvas – The Same Side

(Mercury) UK release date: 13 November 2006

Lucie Silvas - The Same Side There’s a depressing inevitability about much of the current batch of singer/songwriters ‘gracing’ the charts and airwaves. Yet one of the more accomplished is Lucie Silvas, who continues to deliver her own songs with an untempered, undecorated emotion. She’s no slouch on the piano either, a quality that caught the eye of Elton John soon after the release of her debut album.

The Same Side is her second record, and though it features a bit more studio pampering, Silvas’ best assets shine through, namely her voice and her piano playing. Not for her the anguished whining of a James Blunt, or the empty over-emoting that comes easily to Nerina Pallot. With Silvas, you can be sure that what you get is coming straight from the heart.

It’s a brave start to the album, too, not the big killer 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 the only part of the album that finds Silvas questioning and worrying. She seems to be dwelling on something of an enigma, that finds her wondering that “you’re still here 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 to this album than meets the eye. Counting finds an inner resolve, Silvas convincing herself that “I won’t let all these silly things bug me no more”. Elsewhere she’s digging in, and holding out for happiness. Alone again – “So just give me space, some time away, it’s a place only for me but I’ll be back again”.

The production leaves room for Silvas’ vocals and piano but finds opportunity for a nice cello line here and there, or a lightly applied Hammond. And yet, with all these good things to note, the feeling persists that this album is going to do some serious time in the coffee bars.

And why’s that a bad thing? Because a lot of the music in coffee bars is drained of all feeling and spark, an over-comfortable place to be while you’re waking up. Silvas hits that effortlessly – maybe too easily. For while The Same Side has many good things, and easily outperforms a lot of the soulless fodder currently on offer, it doesn’t quite hit the Tori Amos edge she occasionally aspires to.

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More on Lucie Silvas
Lucie Silvas – The Same Side
Lucie Silvas: “I had to keep giving myself pep talks last year” – Interview
Lucie Silvas @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Lucie Silvas – Breathe In