Review: Holly Drummond – Cloud Nine

 

A recent discovery for me, a friend who also films musicians told me about Holly Drummond over drinks. It’s funny how discoveries can be made. He didn’t play any music, just built intrigue by introducing me to the good natured singer. When I got home that evening I decided to look her up and instantly found that she has somewhat a positive presence on YouTube, with 99 videos over the last several years and almost 1 million views.

Her videos include a collection of cover songs and original material, including a collaboration with Lewis Mokler, a cover of Bird & The Bee by Gregory & The Hawk and a very wide range of material throughout.

The 18 year old Scottish songwriter has a simple set up for her videos and doesn’t over complicate things. The cover songs are a mix of those by request and personal favourites/inspirations and they’re all enjoyable, from the Pokemon theme to Cannonball, Fix You to Titanium, Somebody That I Used To Know and Love Will Set You Free.

I went to her Bandcamp – hollydrummond.bandcamp.com and found she has a (potentially, as it’s pay what you like) free EP called New Beginnings, which she recorded, mixed and mastered herself though you’d never know it was a full home set up. There’s cello (she also plays, alongside the guitar), layered harmonies and well thought out catchy tracks.

The change then, between these and the upcoming Cloud Nine EP, a six track EP due for release early August, is both subtle and appropriately on point. Piano, cello, drums, guitar, layered harmonies, a guest spot on The Hands Of Change featuring Lewis Mokler, and a beautiful sign of growth in her songwriting. The joy of YouTube and music in general is that if you can see the beginning you can somewhat appreciate the end that much more – you can see the journey and the improvements, the confidence growth and the technique changes and this EP feels like she has learned a good amount in her 3 years of writing.

She is self assured in Girl That You Don’t Know, Out of My Mind‘s guitar reminds me of when Will Fitzsimmons covered Heartless by Kanye West. But it is that familiarity combined with the thick lush strings that gives me chills as she sings “I just want to erase you from my life. Get you out of my mind”. At times her harmonies remind me of Imogen Heap, and Anais Mitchell with her accent beautifully adding character to each word. OOMM is definitely single-worthy, and unskippable.

Royalty is more up tempo. I particularly love the lines “You think you’re so, oh so unique, but you lack originality every time you speak. But what I know there’s nothing special about me. Floating through life doesn’t make you royalty”. Humble and wise beyond years.

The Hands Of Change reflects on the fragility of time, as she says “it terrifies me the thought of what I could be in 15 years or so, ’cause in my dreams I’m singing to a crowd of screams but then they’re gone and I’m all alone”. How perhaps the crowds will come and go, how short fifteen years can be. Lewis’ voice is a strong but welcome contrast, his perspective love. But when the two sing together for the final verse it is just perfect. Cello, male and female harmonies… it’s all you really need. Great mellow song.

Cloud Nine itself is a great pop song. A friendly melody, wonderful mix of piano and cello, a light drum beat to enhance the overall sound and a catchy chorus. The bridge into the final eight is gorgeous and I can really picture it live. This would need a full band to be done right, but could work well stripped down too.

The last song of the EP is a story about running away from insecurities. I think it a fitting close to an album that speaks volumes of growth from Holly. Leave your doubt, leave your fear and run away.

Other projects she is involved in includes the Rameses B song Dreaming where she has a FrouFrou-esque roll on a tasty drum and bass track. Big song – hear it HERE

The EP is released today, and can be found via iTunes and Amazon

Jon Barker