Something a little different to what we’re used to on Monday mornings. (Jameson & cigars, you mean? – Ed.)
An Irish singer taking on those American RnB divas on (sort of) their own terms.
Allie Bradley comes from Maghera in Derry and is something of an Irish and UK folk circuit regular, including recent visits to this neck of the woods, taking in de Barra’s of Clonakilty and Mr Bradley’s of Barrack St. Her new EP Two is available digitally from today.
It consists of five tracks, each one a duet with a male voice – fellow Northerners Kiernan McMullen, Aaron Shanley, Jamie Neish, Mark Graham and Mark McAllister. Bradley’s voice has a well-schooled, vaguely U.S. urban air to it, which is roughly in line with the smouldering EP cover. She uses vibrato but thankfully manages to avoid that terrifically annoying X-Factor tic of circling many times around the same note.
The single ‘Simplest of freedoms’ benefits from this direct approach, as you’d expect from a song about human trafficking. It’s bare, featuring only sparse acoustic guitar and there is genuine chemistry between the dual lead vocals.
The old Nina Simone blues ‘Be my husband’ is given a successful, semi-gospel clap-along treatment, with pounding toms and a choir of innovative backing vocals. It has an authentic ring to it and you tend to believe the pleading in Bradley’s voice.
Folk-pop is the order of the day for the other three tracks, all of which will interest daytime radio programmers, the RnB/Blues influence being dialled down in favour of more of a country tinge. An unexpected reggae bounce on final song ‘I need money’, featuring Aaron Shanley, doesn’t quite sit comfortably with the tone of the rest of the EP. Having said that, the timeless descending figure of the chorus has H-I-T written all over it.
Our advice to her? Dig down deeper into that blues.
Our advice to you? Listen to Two here.