After flirting with a number of outfits, from Laura and the Tears to Hey Laura, 2015 sees the arrival of Laura Welsh proper with her debut album 'Soft Control'. Awash with smooth, soulful vocals float-ing over slick electro-pop production, it's easy to draw comparisons between Laura Welsh and her contemporaries, most notably Jessie Ware. Yet while similarities exist, the quality of songwriting on 'Soft Control' renders such a comparison more of a compliment than a criticism.
If 'Soft Control' is a mission statement then it's a strong one. Welsh might have operated under a number of guises prior to the release of her solo debut, but from the first swelling chorus of album opener 'Soft Control', it's abundantly clear that Welsh has now found a strong and clear identity. What's most impressive across the album as a whole is the consummate control Welsh exercises over her vocal, easily morphing from mournful and brooding tones into delicate falsetto.
On latest single 'Ghosts', pared back verse gives way to commanding chorus with Welsh's vocal exercising total control as she cries, "I need you to help me through / I can't lay these ghosts to rest". It's a formula which reoccurs across the album, slowly building verses punctuated by impassioned, impacting choruses. It's a trick that provides some of the album's best moments. The dark and tense 'Break The Fall' is a masterful display of just how well it can work as Welsh seethes, "I want to love you but I'm just too cynical" over a sinister marriage of dark synths and trembling strings. Likewise, 'Cold Front' proved the best example of how the technique allows Welsh to showcase her vocal ability, switching in an effortless instant from an edgy uncertainty into a flourishing falsetto.
Continue reading: Laura Welsh - Soft Control Album Review