Lizzie Nightingale hails from Glasgow and has been hotly-tipped as one of the most intriguing and creative new musical artists of recent months. Her début EP, Tiny Teardrops, has been drawing attention from mainstream radio. BBC Radio 1′s Ally McRae proclaimed Lizzie as ‘grandiose, triumphant and almost cinematic … she has got one damn strong voice’. People often compare eccentric and dramatic female artists to Kate Bush, usually such comparisons lead to disappointment. However, Lizzie really does possess the theatrical musicality and rich, expressive voice that can’t help but evoke memories of Bush (think Hounds of Love – The Sensual World era).
The EP opens with ‘Alone’ in which Nightingale beautifully and painfully documents the aftermath of a break-up. Simply arranged, this track is woven from Lizzie’s layered vocals, strings, and a synth hook that sounds like the staccatos of a xylophone. This leads into the breath-taking ‘Footsteps’ – a ghostly array of strings, drums, and powerful vocal delivery. Lizzie mournfully repeats ‘I keep on changing my mind / someday I’ll get it right’. The video for this song (featured below) is a perfectly haunting and inspired accompaniment to the song.
On the title track ‘Tiny Teardrops’ things sound slightly more playful, yet the wounds of heartbreak documented on the first two songs are far from healed. Describing the complex emotional aftermath of an intense break-up, here Lizzie is feeling slightly better and even able to make light of the situation. At one point she jovially clears her throat, a remarkably quirky sound-bite, as if insisting on putting her chin up and moving on.
‘Sparkle’ finds a more reflective and powerful disposition with Nightingale no longer playing the victim and starting to hold the source of her pain accountable: ‘weren’t you the one who said / weren’t you the one who said I sparkled in your head?’ On the final song, ‘Lights’, there’s a definite feeling of closure. Among gorgeous piano and drum work, Nightingale’s voice lets go of the darkness of the past and looks toward the brightness of her future.
Tiny Teardrops is accompanied by two remixes. The ‘Matty Parka Dubfix’ remix of ‘Alone’ features one of the most inventive and cerebral usages of a dubstep breakdown ever since the genre became all the rage. The less compelling ‘Sparkle – Team Tartan Remix’ is only a tiny blemish on an otherwise astounding collection of songs.
What’s especially impressive about Tiny Teardrops is that it’s a fully realised creative installation; more like a song suite than a traditional EP. EPs are often a collection of tracks put together by a record company to help stir up some buzz for an artist. But here we find an array of musicality and emotion resulting in a proper catharsis for the listener. It is extraordinary to think of what Lizzie Nightingale is capable of if the opportunity to release a full album presents itself (hopefully) in the future.
Go Get It: ’Footsteps’ / Sparkle’
Forget It: ‘Sparkle (team Tartan remix)’
Tiny Teardrops is currently available as a free download (for a limited time) on Bandcamp.