Album of the Week
Lose yourself in her soulful self-titled debut album.
Rocketing into a ones to watch list, dominating the charts, heard on shop floors and in coffee shops around the country, and perhaps even featured on an episode of Love Island, suddenly a song, or a voice seems to get everywhere.
One such voice might be that of English singer-songwriter Freya Ridings. Perhaps best known for her 2017 single Lost Without You, the musician is now unleashing her long-anticipated full-length self-titled debut.
Like Adele steadily belting out any number of stadium-filling ballads, Florence Welch’s all-consuming, graceful yet commanding indie-pop, new female voices that command an audience are rare, yet Freya Ridings could probably render you speechless.
Releasing the singles Blackout and Maps in 2017, followed by her debut live album Live at St Pancras Old Church, Ridings has built a strong following, further cemented by supporting Tears for Fears, Tash Sultana and Lewis Capaldi live.
She released Lost Without You back in November 2017, which was the first single from her new debut – and the tune featured on the reality show Love Island in July 2018. Still, fans waited, as she dropped her second live album, Live at Omeara and teased her debut with a second single Ultraviolet.
Earlier this year a third single accompanied an EP of the same name. You Mean the World to Me was released and is now followed by today’s full-length debut, finally!
It’s been worth the wait. Opening track Poison features a light and angelic piano intro, before Ridings’ haunting vocals layer over. Before you get comfortable the beat changes, frantic strings and thundering drums join in and it turns into something of an epic pop ballad.
The first half of the record is evenly split between soulful slow burners and pop bangers – while the rest is raw and emotive, primarily offering ethereal balladry with just a hint of joy as she muses on the ups and downs of love.
Love Is Fire builds up gently and feels like it’d fit right at home in a sunshine-filled festival set, while Castles is catchy and upbeat pop at its best, perfectly motivating for a running playlist or the ideal track to dance to at the next party.
She jumps between the cheery and the profoundly sensitive. Powerful and vulnerable ballads and intensely personal lyrics makeup You Mean the World To Me, Lost Without You, Elephant and Blackout.
Choral chanting and rhythmic clapping lead Holy Water – it’s organic and energetic, offering a taste perhaps of why Ridings has been compared with Florence Welch in the past.
Flawless ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and raspy yodelling make way for later tracks which wind down the record, slowing the pace and making way for subtle and beautifully delivered piano ballad closers.
See Freya Ridings live at select festivals in August, and on her UK tour in November 2019. [Find Tickets]
2. Lost Without You
4. You Mean the World To Me
5. Love Is Fire
6. Holy Water
9. Still Have You
Listen to Freya Ridings self-titled debut on Spotify: