Amanda Mair - Amanda Mair

It does sound rather nice, it’s just difficult to take seriously.

Label: Labrador Records

Rating: 6

Sometimes it is better to judge a record devoid of other people’s opinions. When you know what everyone else has said about something, rightly or wrongly, it tends to influence your perception. It can’t be helped. Even if you head into an album ‘blind’, context will eventually catch up with you, and your original impressions may be proved incongruous with reality.

So, let’s get this ‘Amanda Mair hype’ bit out of the way. She’s 18 (just). She’s from Sweden. Blogs love her. Some people have been comparing her to Kate Bush. Poor lamb, doesn’t stand a chance.

Objectively, this is a strong album. Well produced, sweet pop songs, spun out by our Mandy with all the earnest emotion she can muster. But, unfortunately, to reality (and a bit of context) we must return. Though a dulcet voice the lass may have, the some of the songs prove all too ‘big’ for her. Wandering through tracks like her single House, one feels as if she’s stepping into shoes that are a bit too big for her.

Which, ultimately, begs the question: why is this capable young performer being used as a vehicle for such emotionally overwrought ballads? Tracks like What Do You Want, for example, leave the impression of a beleaguered miniature donkey being forced up its Everest, beset by all the pots and pans its Sherpa could fit on its fragile back. It is simply difficult to believe Mair has any connection with the songs she is singing, and the sometimes dreary weight of them is palpable.

As we’ve established, technically the album is very polished, which is a shame really, as if it was very poor, this review could have been titled ‘Amanda’s Mare’ and we could’ve all had a good chuckle. But no, it does sound rather nice. It’s just difficult to take seriously. Mair is evidently not Kate Bush, although with the capability of her singing voice, she may well be on the road to great things. We just have to hope that her producers don’t suck the last ounce of fun out of her.