Holly Rees is back with her sophomore EP Slow Down. It comes following her 2017 debut Ilex. Holly is a mainstay of the North East music scene, championing the honest, heartwarming songwriting that we’ve become known for in recent years through the likes of herself, Little Comets and Sam Fender.
The EP opens on ‘Magpie’ which tells the story of Holly moving back up North from London after spending all her rent on a new guitar. It’s a bittersweet track, there’s clear conflict in coming home from London, where there’s a better chance of making it but home is home. Her voice here is sweet, it’s trusting and that’s a big part of her appeal.
‘Impossible Rules’ is quite possibly my favourite from the EP or even my favourite of Holly’s songs full stop. It’s jarring, she sings so sweetly, telling the story in the verse in such a matter of fact way to then sound so quietly broken down in the bridge. The song delicately tows the line of being genuinely sad and accepting the situation, on the verge of being okay.
Where Holly could go next seems to lie in ‘Missing Out’, which with more of a band behind it is a fuller experience. It feels like a more confident track, maybe it’s the subject matter or maybe it’s a shout above the noise that Holly gives more to stand out above a bigger noise but either way it really works.
Holly Rees embodies the next generation of great songwriter. She picks up where the likes of Lucy Rose and Laura Marling leave off, both her voice and her songwriting make her incredibly present whereas perhaps she would fall into the Ed Sheeran trap of not being emotionally present in her own songs if her songwriting wasn’t so affecting.
Give Slow Down a listen at midnight and grab tickets for her tour here. It’s the EP launch tomorrow in Newcastle so if you’ve got a spare fiver and nothing to do, get yourself down to Head of Steam.