Leah McFall not only captured my heart 5 years ago on the second series of the Voice with her distinctive voice, but she captured a few other hearts too. She really doesn’t get the recognition that she deserves. She does stunning cover renditions of songs from “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynorand “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton. She is known mostly though for her ability to sing in the whistle register, which for any singer is hard and rare. After the Voice, she collaborated with her “voice” coach Will.I.Am on “Home” in 2014. It didn’t chart very well and Leah was dropped very discreetly from her label that she was signed too after the Voice. She returned in September 2016 with “Wolf Den” which was released independently and which would later end up on the Ink EP released independently on the 27th March 2017. I’ve decided to review this EP now as I’ve been meaning to for quite a while, plus I really wanted to sit down and just write down what I think of it.
“Ink” is everything we’d want from Leah purely because it’s electronic and suited for her voice. The production is intense and powerful, everything that chart music isn’t. I don’t understand why this didn’t chart as well as some of the stuff that IS charting so well! The lyrics may be about how she was dropped from the label, or perhaps it could be about a personal experience. Everything is in time and there’s no incorrect parts. Everything is perfect for the song as it’s all programmed to suit it. That’s the thing with electronic music, every drum beat has been programmed perfectly which is effective but there’s something about a real life drummer playing music that makes me connect with music more. This song is definitely my favourite off the whole EP and really defines Leah’s music.
“Happy to be human, not a machine” really captures the essence of the song “Happy Human”. I find it somewhat strange though that the song is talking about how she’s happy to be a human, but the song is programmed to have a kind of mechanical feel. Maybe that was intended? If so, genius idea. I’d be intrigued to hear these songs just unplugged with Leah and an instrument like a piano drowned in reverb. Both the songs so far have featured Leah’s whistle register which just brings chills down my spine, her voice is really faultless. It’s a very catchy and snappy song that showcases the simplicity of Leah’s songwriting.
“Bottle It” is straight to the point. We all bottle emotions inside when we don’t want to bother people with our emotions/problems. The piano comes back for this song with memorable phrases from the title track; Ink. The pan pipes are really cool in this song but I guess we’re all used to hearing them now in mainstream chart music. Maybe Leah made them cool again back in at the beginning of 2017? I don’t understand how this song in particular wasn’t number one in the charts? It captures the essence of a clever chart electronic/pop song. This is so much better than something that Camilla Calbello would release, in my opinion.
Next we have the biggest ballad of the EP that showcases Leah’s vocal ability above and beyond. “Colours at a Funeral” is a bit repetitive and nothing really captures me instantly. The song does get better as it progresses though. Leah gets really aggressive towards the end of the song. “How come I am standing on the grave” is emotional and deep. Maybe Leah had her heart completely broken and what better to get your emotions out then writing a song? It’s a sad, love song, but I’m intrigued to know what it’s definitely about lyrically.
“I love every little thing you say” sums up “Language”. It’s an upbeat song about having a connection with somebody and you even have your own language. They understand each other perfectly. Lovely rhythms in this song too. The upbeat hook of “every little thing you say” is really quite powerful and the song itself is too. It’s nice to hear a positive, happy side to Leah as most of the songs on this EP have been fairly downbeat and slow, which doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing! This type of music isn’t the type of stuff that I would go straight to listen too, but I do actually really like the EP, I can really connect with Leah’s songs.
“Wolf Den” is a single that Leah released before the EP which features on the EP too and it really does round off the EP nicely. The rhythms are really quite cool and well produced. There’s no faults at all. It’s a bit too robotic and compressed for me at times though as I like hearing imperfections. It’s a flavour of electronic mixed with trip/hop, definitely one of Leah’s best songs.
Lovely EP and really showcases Leah’s funky side, which we already know she has.
If you like this EP, you should definitely check out my friend SEYD, her songs are dark, electronic pop… absolutely stunning!
Favourite Tracks: Ink, Happy Human, Language, Wolf Den