Ilearnt about Brooke Bentham when she opened for Daunt at The Waiting Room in London a few weeks ago. She took the stage with her electric guitar and for a moment, it was as if Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen met, bringing together strength and delicacy, all wrapped up with a unique striking voice – plus she covered Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’, she won me over. Bentham releases her debut EP today, ‘The Room Swayed’, and trust me, it is a must-listen.
The slow-burn opening track, ‘Nowhere Near Sense’, starts with Brooke almost whispering the lyrics to your ear, and it slowly builds up on layers of arrangements – piano, drums, subtle wind orchestration – turning it into an unexpected rich tune yet keeping that effortless halo that Brooke holds – both in the record and in her live performances. It could be considered as a statement, an evidence of this London-based artist’s skills and ambitions. When you are already haunted by the opening track, Bentham’s prominent vocals burst in. “Our love is heavy and ephemeral” she sings on her second cut, exploring the different possibilities of her voice across the song, letting all her strength come out and creating a rather interesting feel-good tune. It was the first cut off her EP and established her as a promising singer-songwriter. She deserves the recognition.
“We’re both alive and we don’t know what to say
You need a certain warmth I don’t know how to provide
It will all be over soon I said”
‘I Need Your Body’, her second number, is the highlight in this EP. The brilliant Sharon-Van-Etten like song sees Bentham shine the most. It feels as warm as if it was embracing you, and the vocals are mesmerising to the point of giving you goosebumps when these high-pitched moments appear. Everything works perfectly in this cut – from the subtle synth base to the soft guitar strokes – and nothing need to be added neither removed. It is a gem itself that only fills us with anticipation for any future step of this artist.
‘I Love The Way You Talked’ closes this four-piece work. “Why you make me feel so bad?” moans Bentham over the piano-led tune. It feels melancholic and moving, almost wrenching your heart when you realized that most of the things she sings about here – and across the EP – are happening to most of us. ‘I Love’ escalates gradually, almost as an experimental installment when the synth takes over until it slowly fades out and leaves you waiting for more.
“I needed this more than I thought I did
I needed this more than I thought you did”
Brooke Bentham has created a stunning debut EP, just made out of four songs, yet undoubtedly beautiful and well crafted. She is someone to keep an eye on, she is emotional and deep, and her lyrical personality makes her stand out. Brooke has a bright future ahead, and we’ll be here waiting for her next steps.
AllPoints | 2017
Tracklist & Stream