Review: De’Borah – Waiting Games

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4

Former BRIT School student, De’Borah, is back with new EP Waiting Games, a collection of typically sweet songs that treat us to her usual high standard of lyricism, and even manage to further her emotional force. The South London singer-songwriter has been performing her poetic catalogue for five years, and Waiting Games, with its five wonderful tracks, shows the worthy result of carefully crafted confidence and passion.

Opener, The Bees, was enough to get me hooked, because it’s not only a wonderful example of an all-too-rare brand of cathartic, soul-soothing acoustic music, but also a perfect introduction to the woman herself. This tale of striking love eases us in with its facade of simplicity, and, just to make sure we are well and truly smitten from the beginning, spins images of birds, bees and love until you consciously (or subconsciously – any level, really) submit to the peaceful message of De’Borah.

Before You Are Mine is the story of pre-love and a time of emotional high before meeting the significant other. This track shows that the real key to De’borah’s music is not that it is simply good – which of course, it is – but that it is, above all else, story-telling. What I mean is, rather than simply being an idea put to music, it is a significant feeling and narrative that she expresses through song. It is a sincere connection to her subject matter and a real melting sweetness to her delivery that makes you feel  – not that you’re intruding – but that you’re being allowed to witness a moment of clarity and personal release.

This is equally true of title-track Waiting Games, which embodies a subtle changing point in the EP. This is the moment that her sweetness becomes something more meaningful, and the nice girl becomes something more dark. The echoing sound conjures up feelings of emptiness and escape, and is a perfect example of how effective it can be to match musical tone and vocal delivery. Just A Boy carries on this feeling of loss, and indeed, carries on the love story that is being told over this EP. This story of a boys experience of leaving home, and the problems and opportunities this includes, has a real sense of connection behind it, and gently pulls you along, forcing you into the story, and before you know it, in a cool flow of guitars and measured vocal restraint, you have been taken through his life, made to know the regret and love the singer feels.

As shown in the closing track This Time, De’Borah has a keen interest in reflecting real experience in her songs, singing of a mother losing her baby and an abused child longing for its future dreams. It is in this conclusion that we are really given the full extent of her talent and in which she proves that far from being a young pop-star obsessed with fleeting love stories, she is an artist explaining the human condition through music. She is a singer who seems both fragile and powerful, like a cat that can lure you in with innocence and then, once you’re in, will dig in its claws. Waiting Games is an EP of many moods and an addictive lulling power and will, without doubt, have us waiting for her next release.

Josh King