At primary school, one of my classmates won a Christmas card competition. When her artwork was printed, we were horrified to realise they’d “childified” it. As we then discovered, it’s often easier for the young to be accepted if they play up to the older generation’s expectations of them, to the expense of their actual capabilities.
Amy Simpson, a seventeen-year-old A-level student from North Newington, seemingly hasn’t been tempted by this route; being more Radio 2 than 1Xtra, with a folky, delicate and unostentatious voice, she wouldn’t have gone far on The X-Factor anyway. She was discovered during a recording session her parents bought for her fifteenth birthday, and her lushly produced debut EP is entitled Fairy Tales, Stories & Myths, which sets the scene before we hear a note.
So, wistful, flourish-bedecked piano-led stuff it is – and opener Homemade Rocket is, despite the presence of “set sail in a homemade rocket” and other cheesy celestial metaphors, really rather nice. BBC Radio Scotland and Tom Robinson also think so, and ITV would no doubt love it for a drama trailer montage. But it doesn’t scream, “Look at me! I’m seventeen – aren’t I clever!” – which is refreshing.
All I Wanna Do sounds like an Echobelly b-side (praise indeed), and Only You, a country-esque ballad with some great chord progressions, is reminiscent of the Kylie Minogue 1989 album track Heaven and Earth, allowing me to indulge in personal nostalgia for a moment. Glow, a jaunty number, reminds me of the sort of thing we used to enter into Eurovision despite no contemporary chart music sounding like it. And actually, Malta might do well if they entered Everything.
In short, nothing groundbreaking, but lots of pleasantness, especially the rich orchestration. It risks teetering into the abyss of cliché to say so, but Amy is promising and would do well to nurture her talent.