I am aware of Elles Bailey from her show on Planet Rock but, for some reason, I have never got around to tracking down any of her music but I stumbled across a press release about her latest single and thought I would give it a listen. I admit I am a bit behind with this review, as the singe was released nearly a fortnight ago. Still, better late than never?
The single is called “Mumma & Me” and is, according to the press release, “the first single from Elles’ brand-new EP, due to be released early Spring ‘24”. The press information goes on to say: “this song shows Elles in a slightly different light — less rocky, more soulful — but still that light is undeniably that of the one and only Elles Bailey.” Hmm! Possibly not the best place to start if I am looking for an introduction to her music, but I decided to give it a go anyway.
A couple of questions have to be answered. Do I like the single and does it make me want to track down more from Ms Bailey?
On first listen, it is not quite what I normally choose to listen to. It has been described as “soulful” but I might go for “country”. Despite my initial scepticism, the song grew on me on subsequent listens. In particular Ross Stanley’s Hammond organ, that underpins the track, is absolutely gorgeous and gives the track a gospel flavour. I felt transported to church where the organ lifted my spirits and focussed me on the vocals. And the vocals are well worth listening to. Despite me dismissing the “soulful” description earlier, there is no doubting the deep emotion in Elles’ voice. I hear hints of Beth Hart in vocals (and to remove any doubt, that’s a good thing!).
About halfway through the track, strings kick in big time, which piles on the schmaltz, perhaps a bit too much for my taste. Having said that, Elles says that the track was, “…written during the first couple of weeks of lockdown, as a gift to my mother for Mother’s Day (whom I of course, couldn’t see).”. If you cannot get a bit sentimental on Mother’s Day, during lockdown, when can you?
So, to answer my own questions posed above… Do I like this single? Yes, despite my reservations, I do. And I like it more with every listen. Second question, does it make me want to track down more of her work? Absolutely yes. Her voice alone is reason enough to seek out more of her work. In fact, I’ve already spent a bit of time with “Shining in the Half Light” her album from last year and am very much looking forward to the next year’s EP.
Elles’ vocals deliver an emotional tribute to a much loved mother and made me want to hear more of her work.
“Mumma & Me” is out now on all digital platforms
Header Image by Laura Schneider