VV Brown - Birthdays, London
2009 was a vintage year for Miss VV Brown. The singer released her debut album Travelling Like The Light and performed countless live shows around the world promoting the collection, including myriad festival appearances in the UK. The album was a pretty decent success, hitting the Top 30 back home and gaining a number one position in the French Digital Albums Chart, so it was a surprise when VV didn't seem to be around as much at the beginning of the next decade.
Although things seemed quiet on the music side VV was keeping herself busy running a fashion business, modelling for prestigious clients - including Marks And Spencer - and even launching her own comic book! Word did leak out in 2012 of a jettisoned follow-up to her debut entitled Lollipops & Politics but the musical world of VV Brown has been a pretty barren place in recent years, as far as releases go.
The singer took her first tentative steps in what some might deem as a comeback last month, performing to a select group of fans at a secret show in Shoreditch, with a set pulled from VV's forthcoming album - Samson & Delilah. The album is her first on her own label YOY Records and is due to appear around September.
The Shoreditch bash was the first in a series of gigs planned for the next few months, with her second show at London's Birthdays my introduction to VVMK2.
Dressed in white and with no sign of her famous “Do” VV looked reborn and ready to begin a new stage in her musical life and with opening track 'Nothing Really Matters' set the tone for the rest of the evening. VV's previous upbeat retro pop repertoire seems to have become redundant as it's been replaced by a far darker, brooding electro sound.
On first listen I wouldn't say the tracks on offer were as accessible or as commercial as previous work but there seemed more of a connection between the songs performed and it's certainly an interesting direction for the singer to take.
It may have been a set consisting of mostly unfamiliar material but there was one "oldie" amongst the new tracks previewed to an appreciative audience, VV's biggest "hit", 'Shark In The Water'. Sadly this was the low point of the night for me as the song appeared with a slow downbeat arrangement where you were just waiting for it to kick in properly but it never happened. I’m sure it was just thrown in to appease her fans as it’s sometimes a struggle when faced with a set of completely new material, but I would have preferred that the song had been rested completely until Miss Brown realises it’s a bit of a pop gem a year or two down the line, restoring it to her set in its original arrangement (hopefully alongside ‘Bottles’ as it’s my fave!).
Although a short set there were a trio of stand out songs on display. 'The Apple' is a throbbing track that sees the singer asking not to be patronised, or held captive as she's "no one's clown", a song possibly aimed at her old record company?! Two other great songs on offer were ‘Faith’ and forthcoming single ‘Samson’, with both tunes giving me high expectations for the forthcoming album.
I’m not sure if the new songs on offer are going to give VV commercial success, in this country at least but it’s obvious that she's making the music that SHE wants to make and is travelling down a path exactly where she wants to go these days - and for that she has to be praised.