Amber Arcades - Cannonball EP

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-02

Dutch songstress Annelotte de Graaf (no, not Amber Arcades!) has been trickling out charming little gems for a few years now, and her latest was recorded in just two days last fall. Rather than hold off to complete a full album, De Graaf has elected to share these tunes with us now and we’re glad she did. Despite the apparently hurried recording conditions (recording on your days off between gigs can’t be too relaxing!), these songs don’t sound rushed at all. Beginning with a beguiling rendition of Nick Drake’s ‘Which Will’, a lesser-known track from Drake’s last album. Pink Moon, De Graaf perks it up with a snappy guitar line and bopping backbeat that Drake’s furiously protective fans will probably hate. But any attempt to steer too far from the original arrangements of any of Drake’s songs will always invite criticism. Admittedly a little too bright and bubbly as a cover, but on its own and without the baggage attached, it’s a daring attempt to do something new and add her own taste, so I’m liking it. If I didn’t know of the Drake connection, I’d probably like it even more. Some songs…and artists are just too dear to let go of their original arrangements, particularly when there’s no chance of ever hearing anything new.

‘It Changes” is another poppy bounce around that would fit perfectly into The Go Go’s and Bangles discography, while the ambient floater ‘Wouldn’t Even Know’ recalls the intimate melancholy of De Graaf’s earlier efforts. A nice change of pace to give the EP some variety. I also liked the smooth, dreamy ‘Can’t Say That I Tried’, which brings to mind fellow Dutch pop/psychers Bettie Serveert, and the title track ends the lovely experience with a lilting headswayer that sounds like it should be coming out of the radio while you and your sweetie are parked up on Lover’s Lane with the lights down low. Fans of The Yearning and Camera Obscura will love this one, as will anyone into gorgeously constructed pop tearjerkers.

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