Bec Laughton: By The Fire
- I find it hilarious how often folks say “I like all music”, followed about five seconds later by “except...”, pick then your choice of heavy metal, techno, ska, rap, classical or all of the above. It makes me laugh but I'm really not any better. I think I do like just about all music...except for nu-roots. Something about John Butler and Xavier Rudd, man! I don't know if it's because their all cheese-cloth, dreads and sensitivity, or the didge-reggae-roots, but something in that recipe makes me want to destroy (an emotion only appropriate for metal!!). Isn't this a long-winded way of getting around to saying that Bec Laughton is about the only artist who dabbles in nu-roots that I know, that I like. A large part of it is because she goes a lot further afield than most of that crew. She's always had a strong line in soul, r'n'b and a bit of funk. Holy Love, the opener for, uh, both of her first two records is quite grooves along those lines, but Bec really pulls out the stops for the opener of her latest, By The Fire. It's Holy Love II and it is exactly as enthusiastically, fervently, gospelly soulful as the all-singing and dancing church service depicted in it's accompanying video (which you should have a gander at, it's rather good). It put me in such a good mood that I even forgot to hate the uke-driven, white-girl-reggae of Now Or Never following directly after. Really, there's nothing wrong with it and it in turn is swiftly followed by the taut funk of Holding Me, which is quite boot-tapping, with a neato, soulful interlude in there too. Bec changes apace, going all sadly Katie Noonan on the smooth and wistful singer-songwriter harmonies of Girl By The Fire. I really like the soul and r'n'b electricity of the EP's closer Tied Up, making sure things just power home. I still want to hang Mr. Butler by his unwashed ankles, but Bec Laughton, with her brand new, musically-tight, well-produced and stylistically-diverse EP, she is alright by me.
- Chris Cobcroft.