EP REVIEW: Sophie Morgan – ‘Annie’

Sophie Morgan brings alt-folk tunes together with an insight which will surprise you – shimmering emotional resonance with an intense melodic quality.

This nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter from Liverpool plunges us into tales of turbulent emotions, the intrigue that surrounds affection and the highs and lows of feeling… all part of her debut EP ‘Annie’.

Refreshingly, it explores the intensity of emotion we may feel for the people close to us in a way which doesn’t just focus on the common trope of romantic love – it delves into other depths too.

Hey Annie’ opens the EP with a warm buzz and a beautiful upbeat on the piano, bringing a jazzy feel. I can imagine that this is the type of tune I may spin through a city street to, as the lyrics speak of intrigue, lingering over “We wait but never know.”

It’s an evocative track, turning over the concept of experience and highlighting the importance of taking the rough with the smooth. The vocals veer from the invitation of “Hey Annie why don’t you come out,” to states of desperation – “You’ve got me crawling on my knees again.”

Lovely full strings provide pace, added to by her gutsy vocals which give gravitas and keep us incensed to the end, even to the last shake of the tambourine.

In turn, the EP appears composed in the same vein – made up of well-crafted songs with an ability to share emotional insight. The following track ‘The Sorry Song’ is also a surprise, as opens with a male vocal over more mellow, dwelling strings and rolls of piano. The change in perspective, shift in voice, can seem jarring at first… but give it a chance.

There is great reward – a kind of revelation, even – in listening onwards. Following the introductory male vocals on ‘The Sorry Song,’ Morgan’s own tones angle in, embarking on a part-duel, part-duet with the male counterpart.

The lyrics start out accusative, paced by their bold, billowing pronunciation – “You’re not sorry, you never even left a note.” It’s movingly memorable – taking on both sides of a broken relationship in a tuneful way, again revisiting the theme that out of experience comes insight.

The Whole of the Moon’ is another sonic shift, with a closely-recorded rhythm on acoustic guitar lending an ongoing upbeat and real sense of progression to the pacing.

It’s a cover of the classic track from The Waterboys and yet yielded with distinction – apparently enjoyed so much by Mike Scott of the original band that he has invited Morgan to tour with them. Her vocals swell in volume and an array of emotional textures build in a way which really feels evocative.

Morgan’s single ‘Quietly’ earlier this year, showed her ability to communicate emotion through undulations of voice especially, and now the ‘Annie’ EP shows this developed further – surely the sign of a musician worth staying attuned to.

Even just the very way her shimmering vocals articulate the word ‘you,’ is so skilfully done – and the refrain “You saw the whole of the moon” seems personal, powerfully delivered with unravelling piano keys which ebb and flow, before a celebratory sort of close.

Each song articulates an emotional journey – and leaves the listener feeling satisfied. Take ‘Hymn For The Morning,’ the final track which opens with a similar wistful buzz to ‘Hey Annie’.

At first the closely-recorded vocals invite us to be part of an intimate scene, of “Long dark hair by my pillow,” then coupled with straightforward “I’m weeping, like a willow.” Perhaps the imagery here and the instantaneous nature of the rhyme verges on being a little bit textbook, but Morgan overcomes this through crafting a track which beautifully takes on the bittersweetness of human connection.

How so? There’s pleasing, pouring alliteration adding pace such as “You’re sleeping, breathing, like you’re not for leaving” before the evocative, emotive shift, “But you are.” How this is instrumentally achieved is also skillful, with the use of strings to accompany rather than overwhelm the vocalisations which billow out with a choral effect at points.

The debut EP ‘Annie’ from Sophie Morgan is out now – and available to purchase on iTunes here.

Sophie Morgan will be on tour with The Waterboys for the following dates:

Wed 18th – Colston Hall, Bristol
Thurs 19th – Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Sat 21st – Palladium, London
Sun 22nd – Opera House, Manchester
Mon 23rd – Sage, Gateshead
Tues 24th – Armadillo, Glasgow
Thurs 26th – 3Arena, Dublin

Thurs 9th – Laeiszhalle Theatre, Hamburg
Sat 11th – Munchenbryggeriet, Stockholm
Sun 12th – Centrum, Oslo
Tues 14th – Theatre am Marientor, Duisberg
Wed 15th – Afas Live, Amsterdam
Thurs 16th – De Roma, Antwerp
Sat 18th – Auditoria, Murcia
Sun 19th – Barts, Barcelona
Mon 20th – Theatro Nuexo Alcala, Madrid

Find Sophie Morgan on Facebook and Twitter.

Emily Oldfield
Lover of music, poetry and Manchester.

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