There is something comforting, relatable and accessible about singer-songwriter Liv Dawson. Take a trip to her official website and there is a wallpaper of a suburban house – hers, one presumes; it is the cover art to her new single – and she is a down-to-Earth teenager that is easy to love. Free from ego or huge armies of writers: a wonderful personality and exceptional songs that swim in the blood and have a beautiful blend of provocative beauty and reflectiveness. Previous singles Tapestry and Still have laid down a marker and shown two sides to a rare talent. With fellow teenage contemporary Billie Marten showing teenage years does not mean a lack of maturity – her album, Writing of Blues and Yellows is receiving storming reviews – Dawson is impressing critics with wise and intelligent lyrics and a voice that carries years of soul, hurt and passion.
Tapestry was as finely-woven and delicate as its title whereas Still, equally appropriate, was a touching and gentle number. Both songs managed to splice everyday issues and personal struggle with impressively direct vocals. Still looked at an important figure/boyfriend leaving and realising the impact their departure has made. A heavier, bigger and compositionally edgier song than Tapestry: Still showed Dawson was capable of variation and progressing whilst ensuring the tracks were not too scattershot, separate and wide-ranging. Reflection continues the one-worded title rule and that passionate-vocal-with-semi-symphonic-composition blend solid. Dawson plays London’s Mirrors 26th on 29th October and will play O2 Institute2 (Birmingham) on 1st November. Maybe an album or E.P. is on the horizon. There is certainly the demand and many people will want to see Liv Dawson fully exploited and represented across a four/five-song collection.
Soulful beats and yowling electronic notes dance and hit with discipline to create an evocative and scenic introduction. Perhaps slinkier and sexier than her previous two singles: there is an essence of moodiness and downbeat among the notes. Typical messages of recrimination, self-examination and accusation are presented. Dawson seems angry at a boy who has caused lies and crossed her heart: perhaps made a familiar mistake and been remiss and foolhardy. Asking how they got to where they are: you hear the heroine examine broken shards and a bond that has sadly cracked. Dawson’s voice is emotional and soulful without breaking under the strain. Lush, hushed and heart-aching; her voice rises beautifully but sounds incredibly smooth and sensuous when hitting lower notes – incredible control and emotional variation.
Throughout the song; a simple beat is what backs her: the emphasis is on the vocal and a young woman cross-examining and questioning her boy. Although there are some heartache tropes and simple compositional elements: the bare-naked/evocative backing and simple (but highly personal) lyrics will resound with many listeners. By the end of the song, you wonder whether the duo reconciled. Dawson is a well-appointed and refined woman who does not take insincerity and casual attitudes to love. A mature and considered approach to the nature of rejection and disappointment in love – a song that proves just how talented and nimble Dawson is. Let’s hope she is working on a debut album/E.P. as Reflection proves she is one of the most exciting young singer-songwriters emerging right now.