wears the trousers magazine


eliza doolittle: eliza doolittle EP (2009)
December 8, 2009, 8:54 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: ,

Eliza Doolittle
Eliza Doolittle EP ••••
Parlophone

With such a quintessentially English name, it’s hard to imagine anything but a fresh-faced (if somewhat impish) London-bred girl behind this brightly coloured EP, and, as it turns out, that’s a fairly accurate image for this dark-haired, cheerful pop starlet. And like her namesake, the Cockney heroine of Pygmalion, Doolittle has had an auspicious, nurturing start. Her parents were both musical, with her father a piano player and her mother a singer, so it’s hardly surprising that this precocious talent was penning her first numbers aged 12. With a musical career firmly in mind, her teen years involved travels back and forth between London and New York, “writing with various collaborators, finding her musical feet”. Now signed to major label Parlophone, it seems obvious that she’s planted her roots and means to carry on blooming.

This self-titled EP is a perfect introduction to the Doolittle manifesto, heralding an official single and full length album planned for release in the coming year. Bright, breezy and innocuously accessible, it’s largely a quirky pop affair, led by soft, R&B tinged vocals, a little like Lily Allen but with less of the cheeky, bad-girl bite. Although Doolittle describes her emerging style as somewhat melancholy, these four songs have an upbeat, sunshiney feel that seems perfectly crafted for summer. Adamant about involving herself in every aspect of music, from conception to finish, she is keen to portray herself as a genuine artist as opposed to a label marionette singing other people’s songs, and while there is certainly a perfected studio sheen on these numbers, there’s an original vibe running through them like a streak of sunflower yellow nail varnish.

Lead track ‘Rollerblades’ has earned radio plays from Fearne Cotton, Jo Whiley and Nick Grimshaw, predictably so since it’s a faultlessly crafted slice of amiable, feelgood pop. You’d never detect the children’s toy drums that were apparently used on this smoothly executed number, and the “milkman-whistle” ending adds a charming touch. This is followed by the dizzy, whirling-skirt dance of ‘Money Box’, a catchy, spirited number, upbeat and delightfully ramshackle with music box chimes, jangling acoustics and bendy basslines all rattling along jovially. Though there’s a folky pop sound to these numbers, Doolittle’s strawberry-sweet vocals add a youthful soul to the celebrations. ‘Police Car’ takes things down a notch rather nicely, juxtaposing affably melancholy sounds with a tongue in cheek confessional about forgetting to be “cool” and hurting people by saying the wrong things. The comical disorder of ‘Go Home’ ends proceedings with a light-hearted tale of drunken celebrations and tumultuous escapism, turning the music up and dancing along to the approaching police sirens.

There’s no doubt that Doolittle is highly marketable. All four of these numbers (‘Rollerblades’ and ‘Money Box’ in particular) are the type of catchy songs that youth oriented brands like T-Mobile and Gap would snap up for advertising campaigns in an instant. Sweet but not soppy, trendy but not fake, Doolittle falls quite comfortably into a safe but credible, pop-friendly niche. Her YouTube cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, recorded in Hyde Park, shows a penchant for edgier idols, and a remix by The XX’s Jamie shows she’s already caught the attention of the indie kids. Expect to hear much more from this young lady in the coming year.

Charlotte Richardson Andrews
UK release date: 30/11/09; www.myspace.com/elizadoolittle

‘Rollerblades’ [live]

‘Creep’ [live]


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[…] recently given her self-titled debut EP a glowing assessment, it’s safe to say that Eliza Doolittle will be on our ones-to-watch list for 2010. This […]

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