One of the challenges faced by a musician compiling an EP or album is to come up with an apt and (hopefully) memorable name for the project. Well, I liked Vanessa Murray’s debut EP before I had even heard it, simply because of her cleverly chosen title – it really is about time Vanessa gave us a recorded collection, so that as well as enjoying her frequent live performances, we can also relish her prodigious talent at our leisure on iPods and car stereos. So many of us in the Liverpool area have been fans of Vanessa since she burst onto the scene, winning the Liverpool Acoustic Songwriting Challenge in 2012, aged just 17. Since then we’ve waited three years for an EP, so yes, Vanessa, it most certainly is about time!
The EP kicks off with the Songwriting Challenge winner “I Don’t Wanna Lose You Like This”, which, from the first chord, sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Vanessa’s acoustic guitar work is solid and unfussy, as is all the instrumentation and vocal work throughout the collection. With contributions from several of Liverpool’s finest musicians everything is precise and considered – you will find no flashy instrumental solos, no over-elaborate layered vocals, indeed none of the fancy affectations that younger performers are often tempted to try. That is not to say that anything is in any way sparse, the sound is rich and full and superbly textured on every track. Oh, and by the way, Vanessa’s voice is as sweet and pure as anything you ever heard, and it soars beautifully above everything else.
The EP is an uplifting, unashamedly poppy collection, taking the listener through several very human moods and feelings, all of which will appeal to the broadest of audiences. Vanessa’s songwriting is neat and tidy throughout, she picks out simple and memorable melodies, while mixing it up with unexpected twists just enough to keep things interesting. Her lyrics, while telling fairly simple human tales, are surprisingly sophisticated, inventive and free from cliché. From “Lose You Like This”, the title track “It’s About Time”, “Fire that Burns Within”, the wonderfully evocative “Worlds Apart”, and the superb closing track, “Thanks to You” I was hooked. Well done Ness!
Let us hope that Ms Murray does not keep us waiting another three years for her next recorded collection.