Mary Epworth - Dream Life

There’s a bold line drawn from the past to the present on this luminous, genre-spanning debut. With a distinctly psychedelic edge, but also (on the likes of ‘Sweet Boy’ and ‘Come Back to the Bough’) parading undeniably folky colours, Dream Life marries its roots to studio experimentation. Unexpectedly outré arrangements follow suit, banjo atop screwy electronica and spare, uncompromising percussion. And yet, all this disparity doesn’t work against the collection as a whole. Anchored by A Voice that would send Will.I.Am’s chair spinning, these songs withstand with ease the exposure of their often unforgiving arrangements.

Minus a lyric sheet, Epworth’s narratives might appear a little opaque but meet her halfway and her mode of expression fills the gap. Her vocals are warm, deep and unshowy. Her words are elegantly simple but smartly dramatised: “Until the golden voices, they adorn me / I’ll wear the choir like a robe,” she sings on ‘Two For Joy’ and you just know. Her broad palette manifests itself in the leap from the devotionals of ‘Sweet Boy’ to the closing skewed anthemics of ‘Ray of Sunlight’. If ‘Trimmed Wing’ pulses with a battlefield thrum that recalls June Tabor or the sparky re-inventions of Thea Gilmore, ‘Ray of Sunlight’ builds with the day-glo abandon of EMA’s ‘Red Star’. The neo-power balladry of single ‘Long Gone’ pulls the rug somewhat: this is a collection that fizzes and twists with uncompromising disregard for categorisation. Recorded in a snowed-in Norfolk barn but mixed in LA, it's a record of opposites and extremes, engaging the brain and reviving the heart. All told, Dream Life is exceptional and unique. With a voice that could defrost an icecap, Epworth slaps the pastoral idyll around for fun.



out of 10

We need your help

Running a website like The Digital Fix - especially one with over 20 years of content and an active community - costs lots of money and we need your help. As advertising income for independent sites continues to contract we are looking at other ways of supporting the site hosting and paying for content.

You can help us by using the links on The Digital Fix to buy your films, games and music and we ask that you try to avoid blocking our ads if you can. You can also help directly for just a few pennies per day via our Patreon - and you can even pay to have ads removed from the site entirely.

Click here to find out more about our Patreon and how you can help us.

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Category Quick Fix

Latest Articles