There are times when I wonder where literacy has gone. I know that lyrics are often contrived to fit the melody but there is a skill, or perhaps an art, to that process that can turn what would otherwise be mundane into something memorable. As one might expect of a purveyor of the forced segue such as I, that leads me right to Beth Malcolm and her “Choose My Company” EP.
Beth Malcolm is a singer songwriter based in Glasgow and, with just five songs, she provides proof that there is still life in the concept of a musician writing words and music designed to go from ears to heart in one smooth move. She is also a distinctly literate songwriter with her lyrics pleasingly devoid of the disease of “words wot rime” from some online thesaurus. She is also, unsurprisingly, sentimental in her viewpoint especially with reference to the spiritual motivations provided by dear old Glasgow town. Not for her the cold reality of violence, hepatitis and unfortunate encounters with the instruments of our fascist overlords (aka the polis or should that be The Polis). Instead, she uses the minor key beauty of damp basement flats and the emotional confusion of seasonal heartbreak to spin stories of metaphorical fragility. Such eloquence will always find favour with me.
“Choose My Company” is a stripped out – no doubt deliberately - collection of songs that seem more delicate than they actually are and, while I might dream of a string arrangement to go with “Ghost Tour” or “Evergreen”, it has to be said that Beth Malcolm adequately occupies the space where such a thing might be. Consequently, it’s really not that hard to recommend this appealingly sentimental EP.
Best song? The metaphorically inclined “Ghost Tour”.
The verdict? An EP full of literate promise.