March/April I have found to always be a good couple of months for gigs, especially in the UK. There always seems to be a plethora of decent and interesting people/bands to engage the senses, just as the weather starts to turn warmer and the news of festival line-ups reaches fever pitch. Here is an artist that might be worth adding to your list.
Expectation can be a millstone, just ask Julian Lennon and Ziggy Marley. Eliza Shaddad could be said to have the same problem. The half Sudanese, half Scottish songstress can date artists and poets in her family line way back to the 1800’s. The pressure on her for creative output could probably provide a good thesis. It can also be said that the creative ‘gene’ is in her blood and therefore somewhat inevitable that it should manifest itself in some way. Either way, this has resulted in the Run EP, due out on March 18th on Beatnik Creative. This is her second EP, following on from the well received ‘Waters EP’.
At the time of writing I have only had access to two of the songs from the ‘Run EP’, so let’s have a look at them.
The title track “Run” is an epic doomed love song. A startling admission to her lover that she is just going through the motions and it would be best to leave now before it hurts even more in the long run, before the inevitable break up. Almost the inverse sentiment of the Ryan Adam’s song “Come Pick Me Up”, as that is about wanting to be in a relationship that will screw you over. ‘If I move in the way that I used to, then my hands are insincere.’ – it doesn’t get much colder than that. Yet the power in this songs lies in the yearning of the music itself. The conflict between the cold realisation of the lyrics set against the passion of the sound itself. The vocals come across whispery and seductive and the song builds and builds, until climaxing in a crash of drums and swirling guitars. Eliza has been quoted as saying that this song is a total beast to play live. You can definitely hear why, emotionally and physically.
“Wars” has been previously released as a single but will appear on the Run EP. Despite the title this comes across as a lot calmer than the previous track. Indeed, for me unfortunately it pales in comparison. That is not to say it is a bad song, just that compared to the emotional rollercoaster of ‘Run’ it can seem a bit flat. Having said that there is still much to enjoy here. The song rattles along at a fair pace with some lovely guitar sounds and those trademark breathy vocals. It has a tighter structure than its counterpart and you can see why it was picked as the initial single. Tackling the subject of the little arguments you have in relationships and wondering what your partner’s motivations are for having them. ‘Who are you fighting for?’ indeed.
All in all there is enough here worthy of investigation. An intriguing talent not afraid to go to the darker places of the psyche accompanied by swirling guitars. Eliza is touring the UK and Europe in March/April. If this new EP is anything to go by it should be quite an experience.
Eliza Shaddad on the web: