There are many singer songwriters out there and many have little to say outside of their own thoughts. Then again, there are singer songwriters who manage to convey something that doesn’t quite quantify into words. Such a singer songwriter is Olivia Fern.
Her album, “Beneath The Surface”, seems, on initial acquaintance, little more than a combination of the usual folk influences and vocal fragility. Not a bad thing, of course, as we all need an alternative to the stridency of life but nonetheless unlikely to give true succour to the soul. However, the very understatement of Olivia Fern’s performance is what gives these songs their charm. I would hesitate to describe the effect as hypnotic but there is an underlying feeling that the only is way is up and not down. “Slowly Turning”, for instance, is held together by a very basic acoustic guitar and a minimalist string arrangement yet seems to be inspired by sunlight rather than the shadows found in the heart. Likewise, the very wistfulness of “I See You” is counterpointed by an optimism that verges on the devotional.
It would have been easy to dismiss “Beneath The Surface” as just another singer songwriter doing her thing. It would indeed have been easy if not for the unmistakeable feeling that, just for once, these were actually songs from the heart.
The album is available from Bandcamp