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Erin K Erin K
Album: Little Torch
Label: La Tempesta International
Tracks: 10

It may have been over a decade since Timeout called Anti-Folk "One of London's hottest subcultures", but Little Torch by Erin K is proof that it's not yet fully cooled. It's playful, quirky and subversive in places, but also surprisingly heartfelt.

It all starts off innocently enough. No Control is a catchy, upbeat track, with a strong instrumental backing, and lyrics that will stay with you long after the song has finished. Pay to Play is a summer song full of tranquillity. If you haven't read the song list by this stage, the next song may come as a bit of a surprise. Assholio and the later I Just Ate Shit have a Kate Nash vibe, which will inevitably lead to some lazy comparisons. Both songs have a rich vein of humour, and some strong storytelling, making the use of language near irrelevant. She may have been called a, "filthy-mouthed indie darling", but there's more on show than the odd expletive.

The rest of the album features some real gems. I Fell For Your Face is a joyfully up-lifting track, featuring Tash Ter Braak on ukulele and wonderfully understated vocals. Coins has a great beat to it, with vocals reminiscent of Suzanne Vega, or even Dido. Couldn't is soft and sweet with a gentle beauty, and is the standout track on the album. If much of the rest of the album showcases Erin K's personality, Couldn't puts her heart and soul on display.

Overall though, what mostly comes across is the sheer joy in creating the album. There is a love of language and how words fit together, and a pleasure in how to use music to complement the lyrics. Drums, cello, ukulele, double bass, trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, congas, flute, cajon, bassoon… no stone is left unturned in the search for the best accompaniment possible. Even the drawings in the album booklet are a joy, especially the fox octopus (foxtopus surely?) namechecked in Beautiful Monkeeh.

This is a wonderful album, and while one or two songs might get the majority of the attention, it is the quieter gems that will stay with you for a long time.

Adam Jenkins