Each year it seems another quirky singer-songwriter emerges with the unique personality and talent necessary to make her mark. This year, for me, it could be Lettie, a London-based singer songwriter whose electronic-based debut will soon be followed up by an acoustic album. ‘Age Of Solo’ is an addictive record which absolutely fizzes with well-executed ideas.
Both vocally and musically, Lettie iseems to be the missing link between the austere Englishness of Sarah Nixey and the playfulness of a number of well-known Scandinavians. To be honest, I kept having to check her press release to confirm she was indeed English and not Norwegian, given her oddly European inflections. ‘Hero’ is the dramatic opener but it soon gives way to the cute pop of ‘My Name Is’ and the rocksteady rhythms of ’Future Retro’. At this stage, Lettie shows she can handle a pot pourri of musical genres but there’s a question mark over whether she is a distinctive enough performer to stand out from a crowded market.
My doubts were soon erased. Towards the middle of the record, the genius really shows through. After ‘Eternity’s Black Box Recorder-esque detached cool, the smooth electro of ’Mission’ and minimalist number ‘Future’, Lettie raises the bar another notch for the wired funk of ‘All You Want’ whilst dead-eyed disco track ‘Criminal’ is worthy of Goldfrapp.
In fact most of the songs here are single worthy which is even more impressive considering first albums are often front-loaded. This is a record which has clearly been made with care and attention, rather than rush released. Whatever Lettie does from now on, she at least has one great album to fall back on.
Anja Garbarek, Sarah Nixey, Goldfrapp