London upstart Etta Marcus’ debut EP has been out barely a week and already there is so much to be excited about. These five songs pack a punch and are filled with soul, talent and emotion. 

While the young singersongwriter’s home is in Brixton, her sound oozes Americana sultriness. Her beautiful lyricism and melodies hark back to a simpler time, reminiscent of legends like Jeff Buckley and Joni Mitchell.There is an almost timeless quality to her vocals; whilst it would be more than suited to a modern pop sound Marcus instead piles on the nostalgia with her silky smooth tone. Her sound is wonderfully simplistic and as such her voice is truly put under the spotlight; these tracks illustrate just how much oomph you can offer from just vox, guitar and a baseline. 

Standout track has to be ‘Salt Lake City’, a collaborative piece with kindred soul Matthew Maltese-someone who later this year Etta Marcus will be supporting on tour. Their individual verses tell a heartfelt story of love, loss and two people trying and struggling to make things work. The chorus is lyrically in a league of its own and seriously pulls at the heart strings:

This town doesn’t suit you and this town doesn’t suit me
Lets make a new life in Salt Lake City. 
You cry the day through, I’m dead and empty
Lets hope it’s different in Salt Lake City’

The closing track is also a personal favourite. Perhaps the most emotionally vulnerable on the EP, ‘Confessional’ is exactly what it says on the tin, even throwing in organ sounds to boot. Honest and exposed, Marcus uses this track to speak her truth. Sharing her struggles fears and ‘the pain in my brain’, this song can be read in many ways. Is it a reflection on the pandemic which has for many been an emotional, traumatic and difficult period? Is it in reference to coming of age and the anxieties of growing up? While these specifics might be hard to pinpoint, what can be assured is Marcus’ genuine ability to connect with her audience. Everything she discusses and unpacks in this track are things we all can relate to and understand and as such the song has a universal quality to it. While it is a deeply reflective and sad piece, there is some catharsis gained from knowing that you aren’t alone in your struggles, whatever they may be.

There is something particularly poignant about not only this track but the whole EP; it makes so much sense that Marcus has waited till this moment to release her truth. We are at the start of a new year and so much is yet to be determined. While we continue to live in unprecedented times, this EP explores the desperate need to escape that we all have grown too used to. While the tracks are deeply emotional and at times raw, there is a tender hopefulness that emerges; the hope of a budding new artist, the hopes for a better time and the personal hope to make peace with yourself and find happiness. 

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