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REVIEW: Daisy Victoria - Heart Full of Beef (Self-released, 2014)

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REVIEW: Daisy Victoria - Heart Full of Beef (Self-released, 2014)

Heart Full of Beef is the debut solo release from ex-Maglia Rosa Group vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daisy Victoria. The five tracks making up the EP show a refreshingly adventurous studio approach and a grit and ambition that has earned her acclaim from the NME, live sessions on BBC Radio Norfolk, and BBC Introducing Suffolk picking her to play Latitude 2014.

Title track Heart Full of Beef opens the five-song set with a woozy picked guitar riff and plucked harmonics giving way to a strong grungy chorus with Daisy’s distorted vocals bringing to mind (and not for the last time) PJ Harvey’s early releases.

Macbeth to My Lady follows – an indie-rock barnstormer buoyed by some choice chiming guitar lines and anxious and impassioned vocals inviting the object of the song to ‘throw off your stuntman suit and make this body a double / …(and) fall at my feet like a fruit and get eaten alive for your trouble’. Ouch.

Cloth rides majestically upon an organ swell with a dramatic build and some almost harspischord-like guitar effects. And there are discordant bursts of guitar, lo-fi percussive embellishments and a drunken gypsy rhythm on Secret Garden Path that bring to mind the carnival of Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.

Whereas the four preceding tracks find release in bursts of dissonance and noise, Tree is restrained and ethereal with a synth wash and an unexpected breakdown that leaves Daisy singing with her guitar against the backdrop of distant cymbals and guitar string squeaks and scrapes for a few bars, before the return of the full band coda.

There are shades throughout of Anna Calvi’s melodrama, Patti Smith’s romantic punk poetry and the goth drama of The Cure but there is also a welcome discordance to the instrumentation on many of these tracks, which is at odds with the dramatic and passionate vocals and as such adds weight to the material.

I must admit that I’ve not yet seen Daisy perform live but my feeling is that the band backing is a near essential part of the package. The band on these recordings (or is it Daisy doing it all herself?) give the tracks a real depth that seems lacking from some of the solo performances i’ve viewed online.

This is a very accomplished set of recordings with adventurous and well-executed studio work giving the songs life and character. Here’s hoping the band is a permanent fixture and Daisy continues this rich songwriting form with an imminent full-length which, on the strength of this release, many of us will be eagerly anticipating.

Words: Marcus Neal


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