Lena Laki – Take Me With

EP Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 3/5

Lena Laki is a London based German born singer who has progressed from Jazz and Folk covers to her own brooding ‘Cohen-esque’ material. Take Me With is her debut release and it is an assured opener with glorious arrangements and a confidence in its delivery. The songs are rich almost lush without being overblown or overplayed at any point, there is poise, power and restraint. Lena Laki’s vocals capture from the start of the first track a sense of intensity, longing and melancholy. The rhythm is carried on a strummed electric guitar but what grabs you is the glorious vocals and the superb string arrangement. Brings most strongly to mind the melancholy of Nick Drake the intimacy of 80’s 4AD vocalist Heidi Berry. Craving uses a bigger vocal, alongside the crystalline fragility there is a roaring power as Lena lets with rip with a heartfelt vocalise. On both tracks the different deliveries completely hold your attention. Stab has a music hall Kurt Weill roll and lilt to it, like Mary Coughlan at her best Lena Laki sounds like she is stalking a small theatre stage from a Degas painting, spitting the words into the footlights. The soaring gypsy violin just cements the feeling of time and place on this emotional roller coaster of a track. “Now It’s Time” is more intimate, again much of the atmosphere comes from the interplay between the strings, the guitar and Laki’s rich vocals. “Another Woman” is a jazz torch song, as the wounded singer tells a tragic tale of the trapped over a sparce piano. The arrangement is beautifully judged building and falling to hold your attention perfectly. More like this please.