Dead Bird Lady’s beautifully bewitching debut EP The Granny House

Guest review by Captain’s Bar events manager, Say Something Music label owner and promoter Scott Evans

Earlier this year, Seemingly out of nowhere, a mysterious new artist appeared in Stoke. One of the wonderful things about being the promoter for local venue Captain’s Bar is I get to give a live platform for new artists, so when Dead Bird Lady sent a message offering to play at a fundraising event, it sparked a series of events that has led up to the release of her debut EP The Granny House. 

At that event she stunned an unsuspecting crowd from the moment she started and she has been wowing those lucky enough to have discovered her since, including at live shows at The Underground and a much-coveted slot on The Honey Box.

You can’t help but be entertained by her ethereal presence when playing live, demonstrating an incredible use of loop pedals and an array of uncommon instruments as well as a haunting voice that hints at her French-Mexican heritage; seeing Dead Bird Lady live is a huge part of her appeal, so the question was how would the songs stand up alone without the performance? 

Well it’s safe to say that The Granny House is a simply stunning piece of work. The five track record is self produced, mixed by Alexis Michallek whose previous work includes the likes of Imogen Heap and Sacha Bernardson. The overall sound is sublime, with so much depth and things to discover in the mix. 

From the opening track Toucan you know you are not listening to a run of the mill artist – this is different. The song is technically instrumental, Dead Bird Lady using her voice to layer loops of harmonies to create a gorgeous soundscape and perfect opener for the EP. This is followed by my personal favourite The Hunt, boasting a clever opening line that gender-reverses John Lennon’s lyric “I once had a girl or should I say she once had me” from the Beatles classic Norwegian Wood. The lyrics to The Hunt are wonderfully dark and mysterious “once I had a man or maybe he had me, obsessed he was with death and mysteries he’d reveal”. As with all the songs on the album, there is so much going on musically all adding to a sound that is rich in texture and reveals more on each listen.

Pollen was the lead single from the EP and I could never get tired of listening to this song, while Lovely is a change of pace and instrumentation, with her autoharp being the prominent instrument with its folk almost fairy tale sound. The voice sounds so beautiful and the combination of it all gives you images of a film score. 

And then all too soon we arrive at the final track Ostrich which has been a live favourite for many and it’s so great to hear it now with drums and bass added giving it a whole new life. A chorus that has no words but you will find yourself singing along with, trust me. It’s a great closing track to a perfect EP. 

The whole record feels more like the work of a seasoned professional rather than a debut. There are no filler tracks here, nothing under or over produced, just a beautifully melancholy introduction to the wonderful world of Dead Bird Lady. This is THE must listen-to-EP of the year, the anticipation of this release from those lucky enough to have travelled to her world was huge and she has delivered beyond that. 

Bethan, founder of The Leopheard, added: “ Dead Bird Lady’s The Granny House EP invites us into the intimate spaces of her mind and memories in the most magnificent way. This cathartic record has been intricately woven through haunting melodies and poignant lyrics as we journey through Laura’s old Icelandic cottage, each song related to a room and revealing a different memory that shaped her and this project, conjuring emotions of love, loss, grief, cultural identity and guilt. The result is an enchanting five-track story that echoes artists like Kate Bush and Daughter, making The Granny House a beautifully bewitching listen.”

Released December 1, you can listen to The Granny House by Dead Bird Lady here:

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