Following on from the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the release of two EP’s, Dorset based folk-fairy Kitty Stewart has delivered on the goods. Both albums are delightfully different from one another and yet still enjoy the core charm and heart that had donations flooding in from anyone who has encountered this serene songstress in the flesh or from afar.
With ‘To The Shore’ we are introduced to the soaring heights of Kitty’s songwriting skill and talent as a performer. With tasteful production and skillful musicianship, we are immersed in a fully fledged sound that gives us a taste of just how high the songwriting at the soul of it can soar. ‘To The Shore’ takes on an ethereal and otherworldly aspect drawn from the tides and the lunar goddess that commands them, it sets sail and takes on a journey across the life-giving waters that we all crawled out from. It’s a connected and joyous pilgrimage home.
New release ‘Talula’ is in no way lesser than ‘To The Shore’, it is an infectiously raw and heartfelt offering. A little more stripped back it allows Kitty to show off the childlike quality that gushes out from her and wiggles itself playfully into the ear of the listener.
It begins with Golden Sands a simple, throbbing, ode to the earth we all live on. Call it earthsong, call it eco-poetry, it has a message and it’s not shy about letting you know what it is. It’s an introduction to Kitty’s heart on a twirling laced sleeve approach to songwriting. Where ‘To The Shore’ let her explore and experiment with more abstract and poetic lyricism, the more up-front and straight-shooting lyrics found on ‘Talula’ are a refreshing insight into who she is as a musician and precisely what she stands for.
Hummingbird from the first stroke of the strings is clearly meant to inject itself directly into your ribcage and tickle at your heartstrings. It’s an excellent example of just how uncontrollably grin-inducing an instrument the ukulele is and how when played by the truly talented it can sing just as masterfully as its more often exalted brothers and sisters.
Title track Talula tracks the journey of Kitty’s introduction to playing music and the birth of her most precious ukulele. It’s a ballad without equal, and the earworm of a chorus will stick with you for days. It’s impossible not to sing along and Talula has no doubt received tribute from countless lips. Kitty’s voice dances delicately with transcendent skill through tone and lilt, especially on songs like this where you are reminded by just how much power and passion fuels it.
If Golden Sands was an introduction to the politics of the EP then Turn The Tide and You Can Still Eat Cake are its specific policies and manifesto. A stance that Kitty is not afraid to back with proactive action, taking these protest songs on the road to soundtrack the Extinction Rebellion. Kitty has the ability to take something of a serious issue and make a sweet but strong case for it without coming across as preachy, which is no easy task at all, as it takes empathy, patience, and understanding. This is especially true of You Can Still Eat Cake which is her charming introduction to a more friendly and manageable version of veganism, far from the militant view that too often is mocked mercilessly in mainstream discussion. Let’s hear it for NUTRITIONAL YEAST!
The EP finishes with hands-down the fattest bass line of recent years in the form of a swinging and hip cover version of Anderson Paak’s track Come Down. It’s a fun and soulful funky little ass shaker that allows Miss Kitty Stewart to effortlessly display just how much groove she has in that tiny little frame. Her voice again punches with the heavyweights whilst shaking itself tastefully over that absolutely delicious bass. It’s a mouthwatering finish that leaves you a little delirious and giddy.
The EP manages to bridge that difficult gap between live performance and studio and stunningly shows off just what Kitty can do. We fell in love watching her beaming smile effervescently gracing sunny stages around the country last summer and the EP’s have managed to capture her spirit and soul and deliver it right into your home speakers. If you like what you hear and want to bask in the emanating glow of this devilish and debonair, songwriting siren then join us at her EP launch party at the Square And Compass on the 3rd of June.
If you can’t make that you can check out Kitty’s bandcamp and download the EPs for yourself.