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A Magazine for Sheffield

Rhiannon Scutt Slow Drift

Scutt's invisible musical touch reaches in and grabs hold of your heart on an EP which is further evidence of her development as an artist.

Released: 9 December 2022
Slow Drift

To EP or not to EP. That is the question. OK, it's not that dramatic a decision, but it is pretty important for a developing musician to choose whether EP or LP is the appropriate next step.

Because whilst the LP is the ultimate vehicle for an artist to explore the full panoply of their artistic range, there is no doubt that a thoughtfully packaged four or five song set can perfectly represent a snapshot in time of an artist's frame of mind.

Step forward then, Rhiannon Scutt, the UK's most skilful singer-songwriter exponent of the EP, who with Slow Drift has delivered a slice of sonic mastery, a worthy follow-up to her notable July 2022 three EP release, Facets 1,2 & 3.

One of the opportunities often taken by the modern singer-songwriter is the untrammelled freedom to knit together a lyrical tapestry that, by pulling on a variety of carefully placed musical threads, can evoke a wide range of emotions and interpretations. Scutt's eminent story-telling skill is in her almost metronomic ability to channel this art into multi-layered shapes that seep, osmosis-like, into your subconscious.

Proof? I present to you, musical members of the jury, opener and title track 'Slow Drift'. Smoky, swirling synths match the sardonic lyrical tone: "Innocent until you're not / Knowledge gained turns to rut / A pack of wolves are moving in / What is left is wearing thin."

"The song explores the power play in an abusive relationship. On one level it's personal, but also transfers to the political realm," Scutt explains. "I was thinking how power is often dressed up in the language of the 'saviour', or apologetic abuser, and wanted to capture the creeping, draining impact of such manipulation."

In a similar vein to artists like Margo Cilker, 'Slow Drift' evokes the juxtaposition of accreted abuse suffered in painful, tortuous quiet, shocking counterpoints that both jar and disturb, with discordant sonics underpinned by the superb, sinuous tenor sax of Ruth Webber of Sheffield's Shrub.

'How Do You Know' wears its heart on its sleeve with a simple acoustic melody and a self-explanatory lyric, "I think I'm complex / Not complicated," a subtle, heartfelt message. Scutt evidenced her ability to arrange 'band songs' on the Facets EPs and the nice, edgy sax and quirky time signature maintains that high bar. 'Know It All' – and don't we all know one – is smart, with its leftfield spoken interlude.

Maintaining a tradition, closing track 'Complex' is a live Wow Wow club recording. Slinky rhythms, a clever chorus and slide guitar mix Americana and jazz room sensibilities to great effect, all wrapped up in a chorus Lucinda Williams would bite your hand off for.

Rhiannon Scutt deserves our admiration for her unequivocal, unrelenting search for emotional truth and honesty through her music. Her quest for life-affirming connections through her songcraft validate her unique ability to provide meaning and understanding of the human condition.

This EP is further evidence of Scutt's development as an artist. Here's hoping that the showcase of a full LP and headlining tour are on her 2023 to-do list. This reviewer can't wait. But I guess I'll have to.

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