The four tracks released here form the first of three chapters which will complete Ella Clayton’s album Murmurations. The songs sit at the centre of a Venn diagram of features folk, country and pop, and by portioning out the album into, effectively, three EP releases it allows you to bask in the songs, savour them and allow the anticipation of what is yet to the be released.
The title track ‘Murmurations’ open Chapter 1, and I reviewed this as a single release, and it still sits as one of the finest songs I’ve heard this year. Ella Clayton’s vocal dexterity never gets in the way of the song’s subtleties and, like its title suggests, everything rolls and swoops hypnotically without collision and when the cello harmonies come in halfway through flowers bloom and the sun comes out from behind the clouds. ‘Always’ is the most country track of the four, an early morning lament that drifts along on slide guitar and tells of late-night drinking and the sadness of wanting someone to be there for you but always being fooled and let down yet still going back.
‘Mesmerist’ is a song that Clayton says was “inspired by a mesmeric woman I had the brief pleasure of dancing with at May Day in Berlin. My boyfriend at the time dragged us home before I had the chance to pay my dues. She was on my mind for so long I had to write this song“. The song slows time in the way it does when you experience something outside your normal frame of reference and yet you go with it; intoxicated by the moment. Chapter 1 closes with ‘He Moves Me’ which sways like a flamenco dancer’s dress and flashes its eyes over the flick of a fan as it tells of late-night liaisons, capturing “the tension between knowing a romance is wrong and pursuing it anyway”.
Ella Clayton’s voice has a perfect mix of sunrise and sunset, fresh air and wood smoke and having played support to other artists recently it’s time for her to step in the headliner spot so more people can be captivated by her beautiful music and outstanding voice.
Chapter 2 is out on 4th August (with a single release the week before on 28th July) and Chapter 3 will be out in September the same month of a launch show in London. Follow Ella on her socials for more information.
Review by Paul F Cook