On Warpaint’s debut album The Fool there was a delicate track called ‘Lissie’s Heart Murmur.’ That track began with a beautifully melancholic piano that was quite unlike anything the experimental rock band had really produced before, despite how it soon meandered back into hazy psych-guitar territory. It had an added sense intimacy, warmth and honesty about it, which is something Elizabeth Cutts must have noticed when she started using the name Lissie’s Heart Murmur to perform (other than the fact that, you know, it’s just a cool moniker).
Much of the work by the Teesside-born, Leeds-based singer-songwriter is simultaneously wrapped in cosiness and distance. While on all the songs on her debut EP Talk To Me have a majestically close guitar sound (the type making you think this was recorded in your own front room), Cutts’ treacly voice is constantly echoing, always just a little bit cut off. But rather than making the EP feel impersonal, this instead makes the record seem more ethereal.
As a result, the three tracks on this EP have an odd sense of grandeur about them. While the arrangements are all fairly simple, built on a foundation of Cutts and her mellow guitar playing and often little else, it still sounds like a much bigger record. In some respects, ‘Alison,’ the EP’s centrepiece, evokes Anna Calvi at her most restrained or even some of PJ Harvey’s sparser works. The ending flourish of the track, with its added orchestral strings, is definitely reminiscent of Calvi’s ‘Sing To Me’ in both power and beauty.
Elsewhere, ‘Walking To You’ carries with it a shimmering sensuality that’s only heightened by an extremely thin smattering of hi hats and a slinky-jazz infused melody. Title track ‘Talk To Me’ sees some low-level strings added to a slightly lighter melody, the track having the slight playfulness of Emiliana Torrini’s acoustic work combined with the thoughtfulness of Feist.
Across its short eight minutes, Talk To Me manages to touch on a range of emotions without ever feeling jumbled or without an identity. Cutts has put together a small but lovingly crafted trio of songs that perfectly soundtrack long, cold winter nights and showcases to the world exactly who she is as an artist.