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25: LIBBY AKERMAN's heartbreak, healthy habits and haunting vocals in new EP 'CONVERSATIONS'...

If you take yourself back to the first review here on Local & Live Media, you may remember Liverpool-based artist Libby Akerman. After the success of 'Window Seat', the jazz-pop artist is back with a 5 track EP entitled 'Conversations', and we are here to deep-dive into the beautifully crafted body of work in full. Warning - tissues may be required.

Track One: 'Conversations'

This hauntingly captivating title track is the perfect introduction to the emotion rollercoaster that is Libby's full debut EP, leaving the listener immersed in warm vocoders and soul-hitting synths from the second you hit play. Self-reflective and theraputic, the honesty in this track shows you exactly who Libby is as an artist straight away; using a journalistic approach in her songwriting to create delicately specific yet alarmingly relatable lyrics. The modern-day, tear-soaked version of Disney's Tangled 'When Will My Life Begin', 'Conversations' is an audible to-do list of 'healthy habits' we are told make our lives better, a mental check-in for those days when we are struggling. Not only do the lyrics hit home, but the magic weaved in the production (Sam Mainard) brings this song to life even more, warping Libby's comforting vocals into a wash of hypnosis and hysteria.

Track Two: 'Window Seat'

For those of you have have read the single review of this Libby Akerman track, you may be wondering why there's more to say on this track, but I'm here to tell you there definitely is! Hearing this RnB-infused song in context of the full EP, especially after 'Conversations', the bleakness is bleaker, and the darker tones of Libby's vocals are somehow even darker. Effortlessly transitioning from the lingering heartbeats that finish the title track, a wash of spiraling guitar transports you from the long list of to-do lists and busy schedules, to the stand-still scene of glancing out the window. The first single from this EP, you feel a hug of comfort when 'Window Seat' starts, the familiarity reminding you that you are in the safe and capable hands of Libby and her writing.

Track Three: 'Ellie's Song'

After the larger-than-life outro in 'Window Seat', there's a breath-taking moment of stillness in the start of 'Ellie's Song', the tear-jerker moment in the EP. The quality of Libby's vocals are highlighted to the extremes in this emotionally torn track, the memories of losing someone laced through soaring melodies and gorgeously placed falsetto. Paired with ever-rippling acoustic guitar and reverb-soaked lead guitar, the creaks of the guitar wood and natural ring of the strings add to the rawness of this track, making this track beautifully human: flaws and grief attached. Holding our attention to the very last breath, once again we must comend the production in this track that places the intimate and pain-struck vocals right infront of us - a poignant moment of remembering those who are no longer here.

Track Four: 'I Fall'

Opening with a spellbinding interlude from composer/pianist Niamh Mailer, the collaboration-heavy track 'I Fall' was co-written with local artist Jess Bloom, and proves to be a genius dreamteam of creatives under one track. The second single ahead of the EP, this piano ballad is a perfect moment of realisation and recovery from a negative relationship, coated in reminiscent lyrics and bitter-sweet outcomes. Uplifting piano arrangements and wide stereofields add to the memory-driven track, nostalgic background chatter contributing to the goosebump feeling you get when listening.

Track Five: 'Wandering the City'

After the emotionally-held tracks of 'Ellie's Song' and 'I Fall', we are reminded of the full band RnB-soul sound of Libby's discography in the final track of the EP, 'Wandering the City'. Vocals are filled with attitude, bass lines injected with groove, and the bridge section is drowned in jazz-inspired harmony and backing vocals, in one final bow moment for Libby. Sunday-morning feeling is guaranteed when listening to this track, with the wah-effect guitar solo, subtle lo-fi drums and catchy choruses: this track fits right into my Joy Crookes and Eloise playlist. Despite exploring the theme of lonliness in the lyrics, listeners can feel lonely together in this orange sunrise soundtrack.


Indulge in emotion with Libby Akerman's full EP 'Coversations' below, and if you're enjoying all things Libby - consider buying some of new new merch, exclusive to her EP release!

by Meg Shaw, Local & Live Media

Review No. 25

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