Sunday, 17 February 2013

Discovery: Ellie Jamison - See the World EP


Ellie Jamison sounds like a stripped back version of Gabrielle. Don't remember Gabrielle? She's a strong, soulful British vocalist and above all a singer-songwriter that gave us "Dreams", one of the best tracks on the Magnolia soundtrack that wasn't performed by Aimee Mann. Granted, Jamison isn't an R&B songstress and she certainly isn't a pop diva, but her song writing isn't far from the uncertainty and cunningly thought-out "Dreams" by Gabrielle. 

The Suffolk based folk / singer-songwriter sings: "Graduation day, Dad so proud, But reality starts to kick in. Gets a job in a petrol station, serving coffee in a cardboard waste land," on the first track befittingly titled "Cardboard Dreams". It's on this first track that we realise Jamison is more than an average singer-songwriter, she has a story to tell and boy does she tell it. The character Jamison depicts in "Cardboard Dreams" could be any university graduate in the United Kingdom. She's generalising in her lyrics, and this works with the questioning themes like 'what's the point?' and 'is this it?'

"Keep on Trying" is a very simple song with a two chord verse / two chord chorus structure with variances on the C and F. It's the type of track you would expect to hear in an East Anglian pub in July, not at student accommodation in Stoke-on-Trent in the middle of February. Jamison has a powerful voice and this is what she plays off. She knows her assets and uses them to her advantage. Her song structures and guitar skills may not be up there with the great female singer-songwriters, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Ani DiFranco; however Jamison has the style of Tracy Chapman. And her ability of mixing genres surfaces on the third track "See the World". Jamison takes us down the route of poetry / spoken word towards the end of "See the World". It's not quite Ed Sheeran-esque as Suffolk singer-songwriters will know, it's a la Patti Smith and the R&B female starlets like Lauryn Hill and the late Aaliyah.

See the World is Jamison's debut EP and highlights her soulful vocal and imaginative song writing. The third track "Do You Believe" is just as scrawny and artistic as a Joni Mitchell track. The guitar progressions work with the melody and the structure is ear catching. There's an underlying theme of love on "Do You Believe", rather than the life themed lyricism of the previous three tracks. It has a slower tempo, but a stronger atmosphere. The EP ends with "I Ran", a delicate folk track with a personal touch. Jamison's song writing on See the World seems to lack personal character and a connection between the listener, but the final track ends all doubts over Jamison's down to Earth and relatable lyricism.

See the World isn't the strongest EP I’ve heard from an up and coming singer-songwriter / folk artist, however it's definitely one of the easiest to decipher and sit down and just listen to. Jamison is sitting on top of a hit with the EP opener "Cardboard Dreams". I can definitely see Ed Sheeran taking this, making it his own and making it a number one single globally. A little fame, a little recognition and a growing fan base with an average age and IQ which is constantly lowering can be the difference from underground and mainstream. Jamison isn't like her Suffolk counterpart, and her lyricism is far more provocative. See the World is an EP Jamison can sell at her shows, pick up listeners across the country and perhaps take her to her inevitable debut album. 
~Eddie

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