Thursday 25 May 2017

Music: Rumer * * * *

John Meagher

John Meagher

Predicting the next big thing is no easy task. I once thought the Manchester band Haven would be Coldplay-huge. They promptly disappeared without trace.

And after attending James Blunt's debut Irish show at Dublin's Crawdaddy, I was convinced I'd never hear of him again. Unfortunately, I was wrong about that too.

I should have learnt by now not to make grandiose statements, but I'd be astonished if comparative British newcomer Rumer doesn't become a household name.

It's not just because this, her debut album, is packed with quality songs likely to snare a large chunk of the population, but also because she has been heavily influenced by two of the finest American female singers ever, Karen Carpenter and Carole King.

In places, her resemblance to the tragic Carpenter is uncanny and the effect is to make already sad songs even more melancholic. Other tracks have the confessional quality of a young King and her gentle delivery is intimate and engaging.

Her voice really is something, and its rare quality is such that Burt Bacharach paid her plane fare to sing for him in California. When a songwriter and arranger of Bacharach's standing feels compelled to do something like that, you know you've found someone special.

That quality can be discerned on the aptly languid Slow, in which she ruminates on unrequited love, and on Aretha, an homage-of-sorts to the eponymous soul great.

While a handful of the songs have a contemporary feel, most sound as if they were recorded in the 70s and it doesn't surprise me in the least that comparisons have already been made to the Laurel Canyon scene of that decade.

At 31, Rumer is not quite the overnight sensation some might have you believe.

Her tentative steps in music involved an association with long-forgotten indie band La Honda, 10 years ago. But now she's found her calling and Seasons of my Soul is likely to charm all who hear it.

Burn it: Slow; Aretha

Irish Independent

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