I want you to imagine a place where Joana Newsom and Ani DiFranco meet, morph and shriek out into the night. I want you to imagine a high school musical that features someone who is not quite sure whether they want to be Regina Spektor or Fiona Apple singing their early Kate Bush records in the style of Annie.
Why – on earth – do I want you to imagine this?
Because I’ve lived through this nightmare, erm, I mean EP. Rhiain McGrath is Rhiain And The Utter Strangers – her Utter Strangers being Oli Wilson (piano), Alex Vaatstra (violin/viola), Rob Burns (bass), Paul Gauvin (guitar) and Chris Butchard (drums).
The five songs on this nightmare, erm, sorry – EP – take just 18 minutes of your life. But in that time they will remind you of the time you got caught listening to that title song of Jewel’s debut album and the price of a free download never seemed quite so expensive.
It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to say that this was lovely and heartfelt and eclectic and “folky” and all of that usual shit that people say when close-to-lost-for-words and wanting to sound nice for the sake of it.
But the truth is I think this is really horrible. I don’t like the voice, the songs, the playing, the arrangements. I can’t find any good in it.
It’s as is Lena Dunham’s character from Girls learned to banshee-wail and recorded it, uploaded it to Bandcamp and dreamed of superstardom.
Well it’s not here. Because here is where musical nausea mingles with self-importance having called off the search for self-awareness oh so long ago.