Tuesday 30 July 2013

Lauren Aquilina EP Launch Review - Wed 24th July Archer Street‏, London

Review by karla@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

Photo by Phillip Nash

We absolutely adore Lauren Aquilina after reviewing her outstanding 'Sinners EP', so it was a pleasure to be invited down to her EP launch party last week. Held in the sophisticated Archer Street cocktail bar in Soho, London, where the downstairs "Chukka Bar" was roped off in honour of the event. As I descended the stairs into "Chukka Bar" I was greeted with a very busy, atmospheric, air conditioned room where friends and family of Lauren Aquilina (and the odd journalist) mingled amongst one another or relaxed in classy, boothed seating areas eagerly awaiting Lauren to kick off the night.

Lauren made her way over to her keyboard roughly an hour after the doors opened at 7pm; a keyboard modestly decorated with blue fairy lights which only added to the ambiance of the night and the audience's mood. She then went on to give a humble yet humorous address, "Hello. Thank you for coming. I really didn't expect this many people to come. My name’s Lauren Aquilina and this is a song about being happy. I hope everyone's happy even though the drinks are really expensive!" whilst looking apologetically over the head of the crowd encircling her to the bar staff. The happy song which opened the 7 track set was 'King' taken from Lauren's debut 'Fools EP' which reinforces the message of positivity in the bridge; "You don't gain a single thing from misery, take it from me."

Lauren is one of those rare artists who doesn't falter, or over accentuate or go off on crazy vocal tangents for attention live - but remains pitch perfect to the point where as soon as she opens her mouth, something magical happens and you become completely mesmerised. Despite a look of vulnerability and shyness on her face as she sings, Lauren's delivery is strong and confident, and even when her microphone malfunctioned and cut out - Lauren continued hitting all the right notes with a look of bewildered amusement on her face at the unexpected turn of events. This could have been a perfect moment to display diva-ish qualities, but no. Lauren Aquilina remained completely unfazed and continued like a true pro with no complaint, even seeming to find the situation quite funny - what a good egg.

Taking the time to chat to the audience before her next song, Lauren went on to announce "We're here to celebrate the release of 'Sinners EP'", and how crazy her week had been since the EP dropped. She then mentioned her single 'Sinners' had charted as a new entry at #53 in the mid week UK official chart - which is an incredible achievement considering she's currently an unsigned artist and the single had only been out for two days! Next up was the third track taken from the 'Sinners EP' entitled 'Ugly Truth' - which was played at what seemed like a faster tempo than the EP version and despite bouncy, upbeat piano chords and the catchy pop hook to it there is an underlying angry discontent to the lyrics "You're going to feel the sting from my black and yellow heart" where once again I was awestruck by the majesty of Lauren's voice. She is one of those rare artists who sounds exactly the same live as on their records and is has a captivating simplicity about her that saw me standing on my tippy toes trying to peer over what seemed like the tallest people in the world, in an attempt to devour every second of the performance.

We were then treated to an exclusive called 'Lovers or Liars' which we were told was "a brand new song which I've never played before... I hope you like it!" and we did, very much so. It follows along the same mature lyricism about whether a romantic partner is worth fighting for - "You're the kind of tired sleep can't solve". After this, Lauren showed her fun side again when she announced "The rule for this song is that every single person in the room has to sing along. I don't care who you are!" - this track was 'Fools' the very popular title track from her debut EP where her microphone again malfunctioned and standing next to the sound crew a joke sprung to mind, "How many people does it take to fuss over a microphone?" The answer was around 5.

Lauren then told us "I’m going to bring on some beautiful women now... It’s not what you think, they're string players!" who performed alongside her for the remaining three songs of her set which were all from the 'Sinners EP'. Power ballad 'Talk To Me' was hauntingly performed and the strings only served to intensify the painful intensity of the track which was spellbinding. 'Irrelevant' followed with the introduction of "Sorry if I cry - getting emosh!" - and this was one of the most heart wrenching performances I have ever seen. Lauren has a way about her when she performs that makes you feel like you are trespassing on the innermost thoughts and feelings of a very private moment. Lauren falls so completely into her music and into herself during the process that she seems almost oblivious to the fact she has an audience.

Lauren then wrapped up the set with ,"So this is the last song. Thank you so much for coming and I promise that I’ll try and buy as many of you expensive drinks as possible!" and a faultless and flawless performance of the title-track of the current 'Sinners EP' that begins with the lyrics "our lives are stories, waiting to be told". Lauren Aquilina still has so many stories waiting to be told and no doubt will continue to perform to captivated and speechless crowds for many years to come. I caught her as she made her rounds after the show and my parting words on the huge opportunities ahead of her were "don't you ever change" which she was adamant she will not - and do you know what, I kinda believed her. Right here we have a new addition to the next addition of real British talent - a truly inspiring individual that seems to be firmly rooted in a love of music over a lust for fame.

Lauren Aquilina's website

Buy the EP

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