Who remembers The Little Flames ? There was a fleeting moment in the mid-noughties when The Wirral five-piece’s incisive-indie sounded like it could take over the world. It never did.
But out of the ashes rose The Rascals, Miles Kane’s solo career and now, perhaps most excitingly of all, their laconic lead-singer’s debut album. Co-written with the iconic Echo and The Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant, it sounds like it could be the soundtrack to the best love story never told.
Eva Petersen has a vintage voice in a modern body. Her rich vocals were always what set The Little Flames apart and what makes Emerald Green Eyes such an emotive listen. Straight from the off on opener ‘Jewelled Moon’ her enchanting voice shines through in all its velvety glory. Flanked by haunting synths, it marches on beguilingly from choral pinnacles to plateaus of anguish.
‘Too Late For Tears’ deserves as much success than Adele’s worbling has received, sounding more authentic than the majority of overproduced flak that has rotted the airwaves in 2012.
Whilst her ‘Femme Fatale’ cover is a pleasant listen, it adds little by way of getting to know the singer behind the voice, although Emerald Green Eyes’ double barrel ending of ‘Sunday Love Affair’ and ‘Melody’ more than atone for its featureless inclusion.
The former is full of atmospheric angst; rich in harps and melancholy. You can almost taste the pain in Petersen’s voice when she sings “When you look in her eyes/And you feel hypnotised/So beware/The Sunday love affair”. Lovers beware indeed.
But like an orchid Emerald Green Eyes rewards patience, with closing song ‘Melody’ the crowning moment of Petersen’s gem laden debut. It is a shimmering serenade that pivots through genres and styles, containing haunting vocals alongside some of the Bunnyman’s trademark ambient guitar playing. Sitting somewhere between post-punk and Northern Soul, it is a song that you are scared to take your eye off in case its spell is broken. Glorious.
Sergeant recently described Petersen as the greatest singer from Liverpool this century – and on the basis of Emerald Green Eyes there are surely few who could dispute it. The richness of her voice could gild palaces, bringing some much needed luxury to the often functional world of female pop. Her bold decision to abandon the indie energy that first brought her to prominence with The Little Flames has paid dividends. Instead of entering the slog of the testosterone driven rat race, Emerald Green Eyes soars above it on waves of sonic sumptuousness. As stylish as the sixties and as soulful as the seventies – Eve Petersen should be the sound of now.
Reviewer: Mark McKinlay