For most 21-year olds, it will be years before they understand what the future holds for them. For Annabel Allum, the future is now.
Allum began her career making mostly indie-folk music and released a well-received EP, Absent. The record put the Surrey, England native’s name out to the music world, but it was her transformation in 2016 that caught people’s eye and led to comparisons to music’s elite. In July of last year, Allum released the single, “Tricks”, which was reminiscent of the soaring, crushing rock approach of PJ Harvey. The song firmly put her on the indie radar. She’s now about to permanently set her place on the indie map with the release of her sophomore EP, All That For What.
It starts off with the powerhouse “Rich Backgrounds”, on which Allum unveils her Courtney Love side and delivers a fiery, grungy rocker. The guitar work is fantastic, highlighted by the delicious wah wah solo. Her songwriting, meanwhile, is biting and poignant, as she gives a middle-finger salute to elitism and materialism.
Allum continues to amp up the volume on the tongue-in-cheek “Eat Greens”. The guitar work once again is feverish, and the rhythms explode like dynamite. Allum’s vocals tinge with a slight aggressiveness, if not anger, as she calls out the judgmental. As she repeats, “Eat all my vegetables” and “Remind me of all my sins”, we’re reminded how superficial the world has become.
The volume is dialed down on “Picture on Picture”, but the intensity is not. Echoing the gritty and personal indie rock of TORRES, the song commences gently before it builds into a ferocious rocker. The climax is a jaw-dropping moment, as the instruments and Allum’s powerful vocals collide into an explosive mass of knee-buckling noise. The soundscape provides the perfect canvas for Allum’s story of a person battling with oneself. It is the self-inflicted punishment and self-conflict in that life-long journey to understand who we are.
“Picture on picture on frame to frame.
There’s no blame, there’s no one to hate.”
The finale, “Spit”, is the EP’s most intimate number, featuring just Allum and her guitar. Whereas the other songs are memorable for their fury, “Spit” will be remembered for it’s stunning intimacy and Allum’s voice. The song haerkens back to Allum’s folk beginnings, but it’s performed with the dark edginess of Emma Ruth Rundle. Her voice, meanwhile, is gorgeous, moving effortlessly from vulnerability to a soaring aria. This is Allum’s song, one about her chasing dreams and overcome immense obstacles. She has bared her soul to us on this track, and we’re left captivated.
With the combination of power and grace, ferocity and elegance, Allum is unquestionably an artist to watch. With All That For What, she has shared a formidable record that would rival anything released this year. She might only be 21-years old, but her future has arrived. She is the UK’s next great singer-songwriter.
Annabel Allum will playing an EP release show tomorrow night (July 5th) at Shacklewell Arms. Entry is free, but tickets are still required. Follow this link for information on the event and getting tickets.
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