Polly Paulusma - Scissors In My Pocket
Female singer-songwriters are often pigeon-holed before they are even heard. Reviewers throw in lazy comparisons to whoever has pioneered the terrain before, be it Carole King or Joni Mitchell for the revisionists or Norah Jones, Beth Orton or Katie Melua for the modernists. The fact is that most musical genres are finished in this day and age; we accept good music from anyone willing to adhere properly to the conventions originally broached before.
Polly Paulusma’s debut album Scissors In My Pocket is hardly groundbreaking, but the noise it makes is certainly sweet. If ultra-bland artists like Katie Melua can make it to the top of the album charts, Miss Paulusma has a strong case for similar treatment. Singing with a warm, folky twang that sounds as if it was created using a blended mix of Nick Drake, Beth Orton and Kathryn Williams, Polly touches many musical bases in terms of mood. Opening track Dark Side , which was also chosen as a single, is probably the catchiest number from Scissors In My Pocket, purely because it deliberately removes itself from a stripped-down approach in favour of a multi-layered chorus.
One Day is stark, and beautifully uptight. Polly is very arresting when heartfelt, and she touches an emotional zone that contemporaries such as Norah Jones are too afraid to face. Lyrics such as "I’ll shout the bile and anger and plain disappointment in until I’ve almost filled it" are devoid of mainstream content, suggesting that at this stage in her musical career Polly Paulusma is still unwilling to compromise. Yet, by the fifth track, entitled Over The Hill, we have a bouncy, Paul Simon-esque song as if taken from his post-Garfunkel period. Talent appears to pore out of every track, and the recordings have an organic feel, as opposed to sounding digitally-processed, but then, this isn't too hard to believe considering some of the songs were recorded in her shed.
Scissors In My Pocket is a strong, wide-ranging debut album from an artist who is leaving a trail of fans in her shadows. Supporting Jamie Cullum on his recent tour and selling a number of advanced-album copies to fans after gigs, Polly Paulusma clearly has an appreciative audience out there hanging on her every musical word. Whilst she is sadly not musically vacuous enough to sell millions of records to the lowest-common-denominator, she still generates warm feelings and colourful emotions in droves, and each person she converts with her music will be a member for life.