Star power: you either have it or you don’t.
Sometimes, with enough work and force of will, some artists earn it (looking at you, Mr. Grohl), but the lucky folk are just born with it. The ability to capture the eye from youth becomes the ability to enchant a room.
They come in all shapes and sizes too: Fiona Silver may be small in stature but is a pint-sized powerhouse. Not only a singer but a songwriter, producer and guitarist, she has a swaggering gusto that oozes through the headphones. This new EP follows up her debut album, Little Thunder, of three years ago and is a swaggering, rolling collection of songs which recalls halcyon days that seem so much further away now.
On Dark Blue her voice ranges from intentionally hoarse (but filled with attitude) to falsetto. Reminiscent of late-60s Cher and timelessly feelgood with surf-rock drumming as the icing on the cake, it strikes the perfect balance between Silver’s punk attitude and a FM rock aesthetic. Her cigarette-stained voice is equally dominant on Hot Tears, with a bass that prods at your innards, whilst the song itself has the structure and arrangement of a lost Isaac Hayes classic. In contrast, You Make Me is a mid-tempo, timeless song of love akin to Alabama Shakes, albeit with an inconsequential chorus (‘you make me ooh/do/yeah’ etc). It’s percussion driven and pleasant, but doesn’t really go anywhere.
The musicianship is impressive throughout; face-melting guitar solos adorn Hot Tears and Violence, complimenting the Philly soul, funk, and wah-wah guitars of the latter. The song itself is lyrically haunting, referencing being ‘six feet under’ and ‘flashing lights’ in reaction to the title. The melancholy mood continues on the brooding title-track, a slower paced, speakeasy number on which Silver channels her inner Amy Winehouse before letting the band take over.
As one of those with a voice that belies her years, Silver is a joyous femme fatale. Hostage Of Love is full of such joie de vivre and uninhibited relish.