Emma Stevens - Enchanted
Perky. Peppy. Cheerful. Infectious. English pop lovely Emma Stevens’ debut album of uber-chipper pop is a welcome start to 2014, though a strange time to appear on the release schedule. Enchanted is a summer album through and through, full of warm acoustic guitar sounds. In some ways it’s surprising that it’s such an upbeat album: set against the background of her mother’s death from cancer, most artists would turn the other way and deliver something introverted and dark. In contrast this is the sunniest album you’ll hear in 2014.
Enchanted is chock-full of chirpy pop-folk, from opening track ‘Riptide’ with its jolly acoustic strumming and hummable melody, through Hawaiian inflected love song ‘Once’ and Taylor Swift-alike ‘What’s She Got?’. On occasion, Stevens gets a bit too schmaltzy: ‘A Place Called You’ (“Cos where I wanna be is a place / A place called you”) is sickly sweet, while ’Give A Little Bit’ is almost unbearably breezy and goody-goody, and ‘Dreaming Trees’ is overly sappy. You can’t blame a girl for being positive though and from her ability to write sensitively about relationships ending (‘(Teach Me To Breath) Underwater’) and loss (the genuinely touching ‘Sunflower’) to finding love (‘Once’) and rainy weekends ('Lazy'), there is much to enjoy. It's tough to criticise but do these 14 tracks show that can you be too likeable?