Ophelia: Ophelia EP

review epsB x1 cong

Rebecca Van Cleave and Sam Taylor are singer songwriters in their own right and formed as a duo on the road, travelling along Florida’s Emerald Coast, as you do. (Van Cleave has been a body double in Game of Thrones, for that naked walk, we think).

Van Cleave and Taylor claim musical influences from 60s and 70s, including Blondie, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty but we struggled to hear those bands. The opener A Little Too Late is a great pop tune and well structured: it opens as a straightforward (and predictable) pop song, reminding us a little of Aha. It kicks off with just bass and Van Cleave vocals, guitar/keyboard picking out the bars before the drums come in with a big but simple beat. So far so predictable, but the chorus shifts the beat to more off-kilter before, after some other changes and a chorus, an unexpected Celtic-sounding fiddle solo comes in, shifting comparisons from Aha to The Waterboys. With the latter band in mind comes I Can’t Dream About You Anymore, a rougher, bluesier tune that’s possibly the standout track.

If You Could Read My Mind is gentler and slightly forgettable, albeit a nice mid-album chill-out, while the single Whip of the Wheel is a Deacon Blue-style rolling pop tune. If you suspended reality, you could perhaps get a Fleetwood Mac comparison in, too. The closer is a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2 (The opening seconds of If You Could Read My Mind are a bit Len, too).

On the downside, they don’t really have a defined sound, though an album would give a better taster. But they write good songs and understand how to put songs together. We like the two opening tracks but suspect their future lies in the quality, mid-tempo pop/acoustic rock of Whip of the Wheel; there’s a good audience for adult pop music, and songs like this would go down well with a folk audience, too.

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