Another for The Music Magazine...
Ah Lily Allen, you have a lot to answer for. How were you to know that your unique sound and image would be saturated by swathes of pretenders all scrambling for a chance to sit on your perky, cheeky cockney-pop throne..? For yes, Eliza Doolittle (that cannot be her real name - an obvious pseudonym if ever there was one) is another Allen clone. Like Kate Walsh, Doolittle is trying desperately to do something different but unlike Walsh she shows very few musical skills on her debut four track eponymous EP.
Opener Rollerblades is pure whimsical flimsy as Doolittle's high raspy vocals do a injustice to what is a decent song. All structure disappears in the middle before a predictable rinse and repeat ending. The whole arrangement has as much substance as Jack Johnson spending a wet weekend in Camden. Moneybox is more catchy but has an even more annoying vocal, and obvious sampling. The mix is all wrong with the tinny music a mess over some smart sassy lyrics: "Do me a favour...don't jingle your change sir...". The irony of this is sure to be lost if and when Doolittle becomes a huge star.
Police Car is a sign of hope musically; much more controlled but horribly laboured and a terrible metaphor: "I forget to be cool... I try my best to not get arrested by you...". Seriously? Halfway through and it's already starting to grate and even a weak attempt to liven things with some brass is utterly pointless. At least the song is throwing off the shackles of pretence to do something original. Go Home tries the same and ends up stuck between pop and swing, without the voice or the timing. Into the last minute it disintegrates into more of the same. Sweet backing vocals provide a lift but that doesn't help a complete lack of substance.
The Eliza Doolittle EP tries so much to be liked. Doolittle injects at much of her personally as she can, showing a glimpse of individuality and song writing skills. But the approach is confused, the songs are weak and paper-thin, the delivery is a mess, and there is a complete lack of direction and substance. This is a first effort. Ok, but thousands of singers are trying to make it and very few succeed. That is the harsh reality. To keep things in perspective you need to make a huge impact in these difficult times. You need to make people stand up. You need to be noticed. You need to write smart, interesting and engaging music. On the strengths of this debut, it's not going to happen.
-- CS (for The Music Magazine)