THEORETICAL GIRL – ‘DIVIDED’
Not a new album, but there’s always scope to revisit earlier works, particularly when they are so well-crafted and good as this. Amy Turnidge may record using the assumed name of ‘Theoretical Girl’ but there is nothing theoretical about the sheer beauty of the talent that exudes from this album.
Whilst many musicians of varying talents may well have a desire to earn a living by being full-time professionals, that reality is something that only comes true for a relative few. The practicalities of keeping a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food on the table means that many aspiring musicians get caught up in their day jobs and aren’t always able to find the necessary vigour to continue to pursue their musical career as they might wish. Theoretical Girl manages to balance her demanding job as a professional working in healthcare with her determination to progress her musical career, and since the release of ‘Divided’ in 2009 she has taken every opportunity to work on a follow-up. I imagine that playing and writing after work will be an excellent therapeutic way to put the demands of the job into perspective.
There are many attractions to commend this album to prospective listeners, principal amongst these are her exquisite voice and intelligent, inciteful lyrics.
The album opens with the upbeat track ‘Rivals’; it’s lyrics set the scene for a selection of songs that explore the complexity of human relationships. Whilst the common thread of interpersonal relationships and feelings remains a constant throughout, the variety of musical presentation ensure that interest is maintained. Although the overall tone tends towards a soft, at times twee, pop sensitivity, an ‘edge’ is included that helps to underscore her idiosyncratic attitude. ‘The Boy I Left Behind’ is a wistful reminiscence of what might have been; other gentle songs are ‘I Should Have Loved You More’ and ‘Never Good Enough’. A darker side is exhibited by songs such as ‘Dancehall Deceit, ‘Red Mist’ and ‘The Hypocrite. She is an extremely skilled songsmith and in addition to being an accomplished multi-instrumentalist is expertly accompanied at times by a few musicians who help add breadth and depth with strings, brass and drums.
One year on from the initial release, Scottish label Soft Power released a limited edition 12” vinyl complete with a wonderful range of inserts including cut-out ‘mini Theoretical Girl’ sheets, and lyric postcards – not something that is easily attached to a digital download. Thanks to the marvels of internet and social networking I have been kept informed about progress towards the production of a follow-up album and eagerly anticipate the time when it reaches completion.
2/ The Boy I Left Behind
3/ Dancehall Deceit
4/ I Should have Loved You More
5/ A Future Apart
7/ Red Mist
8/ Never Good Enough
9/ Good Timing
10/ The Biggest Mistake
11/ Seeing You Again
12/ The Hypocrite
13/ Another Fight (2009 Version)
All vocals and instruments by Amy Turnidge except:
Chris Hutchings – drums
Frances Redding – trumpet/flugelhorn
Ben Lee – violin
Jo Silverston - cello