‘Melancholy songs that leave you feeling great’ – Olivia Miceli’s Times That Were Never Ours EP

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

Olivia Miceli has been busy. She released her second album Nostalgic Heartbreak back in October – a gorgeous collection of songs all about nostalgia and longing – and has now surprised us with a four track EP to wrap up the year. 

Times That Were Never Ours continues the story that Nostalgic Heartbreak stared, and Olivia manages to pander to one of my vulnerabilities – melancholy songs that actually leave you feeling great. For me, The Smiths were the masters of doing this and it’s something I believe is very special and skillful.

Olivia is an artist I actually know very little about and was only introduced to following Bethan’s album review, which for a Stoke-based artist is quite a rarity for me, and in this case makes her music more mysterious to me (and I quite like that), echoing potential influences like Billie Eilish, The Anchoress and Nerina Pallot, but there is so much to go at in her music that comparisons ultimately become lazy. 

The EP is made up of four tracks, two brand new tracks and two acoustic versions of album tracks. The Fate Of The Romanticists, the opening track of the album, is stripped back down to just piano, acoustic guitar and hand claps. I really like this reimagining of the song, it’s a worthy addition to the EP and well worth the effort that’s gone into it. 

Meanwhile, Happy Ending is one of my favourites off the album and this version replaces the uptempo drums with handclaps and ukulele, it’s a great track and as with the previous number, another solid addition to the EP.

The first of the new records is Wedding Bands – and it is instantly loveable. Introduced with the ringing out of church bells, you can’t help but imagine the singer witnessing a wedding that she didn’t particularly want to be at. An acoustic guitar fades in for the opening verse accompanied with lyrics of regretful heartbreak, the chorus breaks out with lush strings and such clever lyrics and word play – “people holding hands with a gold ring wrapped around their finger and I’m feeling far to sad seeing wedding bands because I wonder if you’ve got one these days.” It’s a song that could have easily been on the album and keeps the overall theme going. It’s a truly fantastic song.

Let Me Down closes the EP. It’s a piano-led ballad and again, it’s the lyrics and vocal melodies that really hook you in to deliver the happy sad lyrics. As with many of her songs you could really imagine them as the theme to a pivotal point in a film or TV drama, not the kind of throwaway romantic, sugar coated type of song more the grabbing the phone to Shazam what the song is so you add it to your heartbreak playlist on Spotify type song. spo

If this EP had been the only release from Olivia this year that would have been a great output, the fact that it’s off the back of a full album is remarkable. These songs are not leftovers that were not worth putting on the album, these are quality beautifully melancholy heartfelt compositions. A must listen to end the year.

Released December 22, you can listen to Times That Were Never Ours here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for Something?