EP Review

Ruth Lyon – Direct Debit to Vogue: EP Review

Ruth Lyon goes very, very personal but not preachy on her new EP.

Release Date: 25th November 2022

Label: Pink Lane Records

Format: CD / digital / vinyl

Maybe better known as ‘Ruth from Holy Moly & The Crackers’ and following up 2021’s Nothing’s Perfect, we find Ruth forging ahead on a solo project that avoids the obvious comparisons with the day job. That in itself is saying something, with the Holy Moly template being to never stay in one place long enough to get boring. A band who “have really different personalities and lots of different musical tastes which is why some of the albums don’t always make much sense,” Ruth told us earlier this year at Cropredy.

Ruth talks of wanting to make an interesting and powerful statement, “speaking honestly about stuff that is sometimes hard to talk about.” A bold MO and one which was inspired by the very glossy magazine namechecked in the EP’s title which drops through her postbox each month. A reminder of how perfection and flawlessness are portrayed as the goal, while subliminally prodding at our insecurities.

However, fitting boxes is not what these five new songs are about – no kowtowing to ideals and expectations of gender, creed, race or age. Not even any musical expectations are on the agenda. Enraged by the injustice of it all (her words from Flood), Direct Debit To Vogue finds her empowered and in full confident command, displaying a musical philosophy for life and for equality. “Call me anything you want, I don’t care,” is more than just a line in a song.

Wool, Stone, Trouble, Clown and Flood. A five-song run of single words song titles will provide a satisfying glow for those who like a little order in their lives. They ensure that DDTV goes off at a tangent from the more uptempo Summery vibe of Nothing’s Perfect. We’re on a much darker journey with a much starker musical framework that often comes from the starting point of organic yet effective rhythms. Nothing wrong with that. It worked for Peter Gabriel.

A few stabs of brass on and the organ give an earthy and warm texture to Flood and the tinkle of some jazzy piano notes in Clown add a sparkle to an austere canvas. Sitting atop is a most soulful vocal performance that hits on R&B against the odd dub fuelled walking bassline, the snatch of aching violin on Wool or boom-cha-cha shuffle. There’s an innate delicacy but not without the moody and brooding; “all the mums see me as trouble,” she sings – a phrase which you can hear coming from Guy Garvey and his buddies in Elbow with a similarly understated backing.

Music for a dimly lit club, plush red curtains and the clink of cocktail glasses. We suggest taking some of the words of Flood, and get Ruth to congratulate herself with a gin & tonic about how far she’s come.

Here’s Stone, live from The Sage, Gateshead.

Ruth Lyon online: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

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