Everything about Oxford-based singer-songwriter Joely and her recent release EP are just downright beautiful. Released in January, the five-track EP is a dreamy, yet potent combination of Joely’s lovely vocals, her mature and engaging lyrics, and her Telecaster. Each of the tracks can (and do) stand on their own and as a whole showcase both Joely’s depth and her range. While “Tuesday” is a sweet energizing pop track, “Desire” is slow and jazzy, and “Mean” has a bit of a reggae feel from the chords, Joely is almost effortlessly dynamic.
Within the first few seconds of the first track, “Berlin,” it is clear that this EP and this artist are coming from an entirely authentic and talented space. My first impression is of Joely’s absolutely lovely voice that I can’t get enough of. She isn’t trying too hard, she kind of just is effortlessly perfect, and the instrumentation around her voice is beautifully complementary. With her velvety voice, Joely reminds me a bit of a mash-up of all of the good things about Colbie Caillat and Ingrid Michaelson. This being said, she certainly transcends simple comparison, being as she is simultaneously classy and refined.
If, like me, you’re someone who enjoys learning the inspiration for the music, Joely has uploaded a brief description of each track on her Facebook page which is linked above. For instance, “Berlin” was inspired by a trip to the said city and evokes a sense of detachment, while “Tuesday” lightheartedly tackles feelings of nothingness. Throughout, there is a real sense of humour in the underlying heaviness of the content exemplified by the verse in “I Won’t Say” which repeats “I don’t want to lock you out now/ please don’t try to figure me out/ I haven’t gotten there yet.”
Although my favourite track is definitely “Desire,” (please check out the short clip of Joely performing this track while an absolutely adorable elderly couple slow dance in front of the stage – also on her Facebook page), the entire EP is like a sweet dreamy cloud. It is so wonderful to see female singer-songwriters kicking ass in this way. Kudos to you Joely, this EP is wonderful in so many ways.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Danielle Kenedy