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Liz Lawrence, Live At Whelan's
A more defined sense of self, and we could be talking about a major artist this time next year.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 14 May 2012
If there is one song that captures all there is to love in Liz Lawrence’s early career, it is ‘When I Was Younger’. Deployed towards the end of her sparky, enjoyable set upstairs in Whelan’s tonight, it verges on the sumptuous. There is a different, less positive undercurrent too, however: the sense that it’s a touch lightweight nags away at you. But the naïve, occasionally awkward lyrics are bolted onto such a summery, addictive tune that ultimately all is forgiven.
And so it goes for much of the night. ‘Oo Song’ is another case in point – nicely hooky but ultimately thin. Lawrence has a real knack for penning a bright melody and delivering it in a carefree, joyous way. But as the songs zip by, at times they can seem indistinguishable from one another. There are new numbers mixed in with offerings from her just-released Bedroom Hero, but on a first encounter none of them grabbed me enough to elicit that old shiver down the spine. That’s not to say positives are hard to come by. The show is a triumph in making the most of a bare-bones set up. Liz is joined by just one other strummer and a drummer, both of whom elevate the sound significantly with some welcome harmonies.
There’s a dash of Adele here, some Ed Sheeran chirpiness there and a smidgeon of KT Tunstall’s acoustic simplicity. And Lawrence herself is a smiling, breezily mellow type who is hard not to like, coming over like the twin sister Paolo Nutini never knew he had. And, make no mistake, she has talent. If at times she can be accused of being ‘inoffensive’, the potential is nonetheless clear to see. A bit of living, a more defined sense of self and a second album step-up and we could be talking about a major artist this time next year.