Blabber’n’Smoke reviewed Eddie Reader’s latest album, Vagabond, released back in February coming up with a somewhat sitting on the fence opinion, strong on her roots but so-so on her own songs. So it’s interesting to hear her new five song EP which leads with Back The Dogs from the album along with four cover versions including a version of Moon River produced by Boo Hewerdine and featuring a full blown orchestra.
The song, Back The Dogs has grown on us since the first listen with its quirky mix of bal musette and home-grown memories and with any justice it should be picked up on radio. As for the four new songs, Reader’s voice is the hook here, almost perfect, while the decision to record covers offers the opportunity for her to ornament proven songs with her singing. Super Furry Animal’s Juxtaposed With U is given an arrangement that is reminiscent of 80’s bands such as Everything But The Girl and Weekend with their airy and light jazzy arrangements. Amy Winehouse’s Love Is A Losing Game has a more intimate performance than the original with Reader recalling Julie London and Cry Me A River’s stark beauty. The perennial Mona Lisa continues the Gallic feel of some of the songs on Vagabond with accordion to the fore and one can imagine it wafting across the small squares of Montmartre. Finally, Moon River follows the original arrangement, halting and tender with Reader reading the song wonderfully.
It maybe only five songs but the EP has a cohesiveness missing from the Vagabond album and fully justifies Reader’s position as one of the best voices we have.