Katie hails from Fife in Scotland and now lives in London. She is a singer songwriter with a quirky folk feel. She is left handed and instead of getting a left handed guitar Katie plays a right handed guitar upside down. It gives a great unique harmony structure to all of her songs.
Katie released her debut EP in 2010, entitled ‘Four Goodbyes’ which she recorded at home with some help from friends and she graduated from university in 2011 where she won a battle of the bands competition as well as gigging a lot in the local area. We’re going to be reviewing her latest EP ‘…And the Slow Parade’ which was released on Alcopop records in June of this year.
‘…And the Slow Parade’ has a much more professional feel to it, which is unsurprising considering she recorded it in a church with the help of Iain Archer, secondary lyricist for Snow Patrol, who had his song ‘Canal Song’ featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Katie’s debut EP had a fun childlike feel to it with the use of some unusual instruments, we still get that feel on this EP with the inclusion of instruments such as glockenspiels, however we also get the sense of a more grown up Katie on the new EP.
‘Laa Dee Daa’ is the first track on the new EP. It showcases Katie’s development of her finger picking tehcnique on guitar and gives a light melodic start to the EP. There is a lovely edition of strings cementing her jump to a professional recording, and a great range of textures to keep the song interesting and fresh throughout. It’s the shortest song on the EP but a great way to introduce us to her style.
‘Sad Eyes’ has a very different feel to the first track, providing the feel of a band. With the loss of the guitar at the beginning of this song it allows us to focus in on Katie’s lyrics and vocals. We’re sure that must have felt weird for her, being someone who uses her guitar so much. And again we get a great range of texture and different timbres due to the reduction of guitar. A great development in Katie’s sound.
‘Get in the Car’ starts with a lighter texture than the previous song, going back to the finger picking style, with just Katie’s voice, which is what we’d expect. And again we can really focus in on her voice and lyrics. She has clear strong tones that are very easy to listen to. This is the kind of track that I would have put with a movie like ‘Practical Magic’ or something of similar feel. This track has a much lighter country/folk feel to it, perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.
‘Johnny’ really cements the country/folk feel with the introduction of banjo and a rhythm synonomous with traditional celtic music. This is further reinforced with the introduction of fiddle later on and some light piano and glockenspiel to balance out the slightly heavier sound. Again we have a great juxtaposition of textures, with the lighter textures with the more impacting lyrics such as ‘You shall burn in hell for what you have done’. It creates a great impact and makes those lyrics stand out.
‘Florence Nightingale’s House’ returns to the soft, light feel that we started with at the beginning of the EP. A mixture of finger picking and strumming, with just vocals, making us feel like we’re in a very intimate setting. It allows us as the listener to feel really involved with the track. The only other instrumentation are some very light keyboard chords behind the chorus and instrumental that just add to the atmosphere rather than from detracting from it. It allows the spaces of silence to really impact on us. We can hear every breath and the inclusion of foot stamping in the middle adds a nice intimate touch as well.
All in all we love this EP. It’s one of those for those quiet mornings or late nights when you want to chill out a bit and you can let Katie’s clear tones and great lyrics drift you off to sleep. Her sound has developed so much and we’re looking forward to her future collaborations and projects and how those will develop her sound even more.
You can catch her gigging at Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, London this Friday. You can find out more here.
Download ‘…And the Slow Parade…’ and ‘Four Goodbyes’ or use the following links to find out more about Katie: