Lincolnshire-born singer-songwriter Callaghan began writing music at the age of 14. In 2010, she moved to the US to tour with Grammy winner Shawn Mullins, and released her debut album a year later. Now, following her recent UK tour, she’s released her third, self-titled LP.
The album opens with Silence, which sets the tone for much of what follows. It’s an atmospheric piano-led ballad with electronic beats and rich strings, giving it a 90s indie-pop feel. Right from the off Callaghan’s clear, breathy vocals are at the fore and she hits some incredible high notes, which add an epic feel to the song.
Those gorgeous vocals are the heart of this album, which is based on three previously released EPs. Whether it’s The End Of The World with its soulful harmonies, the delicate verses and soaring choruses of The Other Side or the raw, yearning Surrender, it’s clear Callaghan has an absolutely stunning voice. She fills the lyrics with emotion and it’s impossible not to be moved.
Whilst the album is dominated by slower songs, there are a few lighter moments too. The joyful, upbeat Better Together features whistling, Liz Phair-esque vocals and almost tribal drumbeats, whilst Solid Ground has a rollicking rhythm and a singalong feel.
One of the standout songs for me is I Don’t Know How To Lose You. It’s a gentle song which sees Callaghan pleading for a lover to stay. Whilst other singers would use this as an opportunity to belt out big notes, her subdued approach makes the track far more powerful and conveys the heartache of the lyrics beautifully. I also liked the bittersweet, cinematic Broken with its heartbeat-like drum effect and the tinkling piano and gospel-influenced backing vocals If You Miss Me (When I’m Gone).
The album closes with Summer Days, which Callaghan recently released as a single. It starts out with the sound of shouts and laughter before launching into an uptempo, jazzy melody with a sunny, laid-back vibe. It’s a great way to end the journey of the record and I would have liked more similar moments throughout.
Overall Callaghan’s third album shows off her outstanding vocals with stripped-back production and simple arrangements. It put me in mind of singers such as Michelle Branch and Norah Jones, and should appeal to fans of chilled-out, piano-driven pop with a few modern touches. Whilst got me there were perhaps too few upbeat moments, this is a solid record and a fantastic showcase for an incredibly talented singer.
Track listing: 1. Silence 2. The End Of The World 3. Better Together 4. Skin On Skin 5. The Other Side 6. Surrender 7. I Don’t Know How To Lose You 8. Solid Ground 9. Broken 10. All Through The Night (Prelude) 11. All Through The Night 12. If You Miss Me (When I’m Gone) 13. Summer Days Record label: Callaghan/Green Town Music Release date: 31st August 2018