Saturday, 4 May 2019

EP: Eve Clague - Young Naive Me

Eve Clague - Young Naive Me
Photo: Simon Curran

Eve Clague is an urban-folk / singer-songwriter hailing from Clonakilty in West Cork, who released her debut EP Young Naive Me last week.

Of the gorgeous opening self-titled track we wrote back in March; "On her debut single Eve Clague is nothing but natural, and there's a very fulfilling clarity and pristine delivery to her vocal here, no distractions. On first listen you are struck by the classic sound of both voice and music, but it also sounds effortlessly timeless, like it could never sound dated no matter when it was released. A disarmingly gentle sway drifts all across the track, comforting and warm, yet confidently driven towards a determined rallying call, sitting somewhere in the apex of folk, soul and even little hints of jazz vox."

It doesn't get more sleepy, and enchanting in the most melancholy manner, than on 'Endless Emotion', it's a stunning performance from Clague. During my late 20's to early 30's I would say 90% of my listening was 60's and 70's music, very little contemporary which I fell completely out of the loop with. Point being, this track, and other parts of Young Naive Me have me scratching my head as to what they are doing being born in 2019, this would have seen her make ripples between the late 60's and early 70's by any measurement, this is not hyperbole.

Falling back into contemporary folk territory, deft guitar plucking and a sweet jazz-infused electric guitar progression set the scene. Clague's vocal again is intoxicating, the pristine and lucid delivery is unique, even on its softer moments the power is observable. The orchestral movement and what sounds like upright-bass bending into the final thirty seconds add to the mystery and atmosphere.

By 'To and Fro' (and actually earlier on the EP after a few listens) you begin to note a defining characteristic of her song-writing, you think you are embarking on a bare acoustic-led journey, but the artist always has an ace up the sleeve later in each track where we are lifted to heightened plains of emotion, that said, this is probably the calmest moment on Young Naive Me

Closing with 'In Needing Others' you are challenged moreso than at any point previously, that heart-bruising feeling the likes of Joni Mitchell or Jeff Buckley could conjure up with their voices, lyrics and music in combination is flush. Thematically, as the EP title suggests, the collection of songs are about vulnerability, and in this particular moment an admirable honesty admitting that there is a reliance on company, the opposite of the oft-used cliché of "I'm just fine on my own", independence doesn't lead to happiness in all cases.

Young Naive Me is so beautifully picturesque, it's authenticity can be heart-breaking and moving, sometimes more than you'd like to allow it to be, as an entire package you'll struggle to hear a more complete piece of song-writing by an Irish artist this year.