Up ‘n’ coming Londoner Laurel introduces her debut Dogviolet. Named after everyone’s favourite purple, scentless flower, it broods on the complex old chestnut of love. Focused around yearning, expressive guitar riffs and Laurel’s soulful vocals, it’s a strong new entry in this sort of confessional pop canon. The softened, wilting texture, courtesy of the mixes having been sent through reel-to-reel prior to mastering, help round off the character of things.
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Sink into your feelings with a record named after a very good flower. The mononymous Laurel has made a record of exploded claustrophobia, filling the room with nothing but her strummed guitar before reaching high and wild climaxes. ‘Dogviolet’ is like King Krule meeting London Grammar in sound, its low-key evening vibes scattered to the wind of big music on each time of asking.
Laurel’s strums are the best bit of every song: they’re like someone driving you down a motorway with punctures they don’t care to get looked at, the perfectly soft, tensely muted guitar forming the backbone of these songs but always suggesting some bigger moment of reckoning to come. “Same Mistakes” wrings glitz from this grit, the surrounding rock arrangement a bright sparkling contradiction. The sparse intro to “Crave” sees Laurel’s vocals coalesce around laissez faire guitar flickerings, the production bringing the tune to crashing waves and a distraught guitar solo, the whole thing housed in the kind of wide-open melancholy the National used on ‘Trouble Will Find Me’.
‘Dogviolet’ is a little attached to this particular, well-grown dynamic: start from the edge and then roll right over it. But these songs feel evocative every time they come round, the record becoming one long, languishing cycle of emotional tension and catharsis. Good songwriting that makes a saga of the seriously sad.
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- Dogviolet by Laurel
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