Kate Stapley – Centalla EP (Breakfast Records) 

Kate Stapley - Centella EP
Release Date: Out Now

The last time I heard the music of Kate Stapley, she was slaying a cold and huddle audience in London’s Wilmington Arms with her youthful but superbly created and delivered songs. That was probably about 7 years ago now and Kate has, I’m glad to say, come back with a whole lot of life to draw from which is laid out on this new six track EP, ‘Centella’. The first track, ‘Iceland’, stumbles in to life like a dishevelled reveller emerging from their temporary sofa bed to pick up the essentials and emerge blinking in to the morning light. Stapley’s voice is Best Coast levels of chilled but with a  more haunting edge to it but, quite rightly, it’s given centre stage by a relatively sparse melody playing underneath despite the array of instrumentation.

There couldn’t be a more English song title than ‘Potted History of Mum’ but the soft shuffle and Tennis-esque wooze of the vocals atop the country inspired guitars is far more West Coast as our heroine sings of the genetics of lip shapes and dessert preferences. Things kick up a notch on ‘Irises’ as Stapley takes on a Laura Marling meets First Aid Kit inspired tune with rattling acoustic chords and sublime vocal harmonies winding through like ivy on a once-grand iron fence. Track 4 is misleadingly called ‘Interlude’. Misleading because it suggests something inconsequential when actually the dreamy, psyche-influenced meander is actually quite beautiful and not to be skipped passed. The early morning/late night vocal croak that introduces ‘These Planets’ is oh-so-bohemian but the song soon emerges as a sophisticated and poised piece that speaks more of Anna Calvi and Carly Simon in its soul.

Kate Stapley - hot wheels
The EP closes out with ‘Stabilisers’ which, I’m guessing, is a live favourite due to the strong acoustic strum and reassuringly study rhythm that allows the vocals to revel in the story-telling lyrics without having to worry about too much else. As Stapley wanders off through the back streets of her adopted Bristol with the organ chords ringing in her ears, you can’t help but be impressed by the maturity, craft and care that’s gone in to making these songs. In terms of the dress sense, it’s all gone a bit Barbara Windsor in her ‘Carry On’ days but it does make for interesting sleeve art at least. So that’s Kate Stapley, not rushing, not doing anything because she has to and not following anyone else in particular. I don’t like using this phrase very much but definitely ‘one to watch’.

Listen Here: https://open.spotify.com/album/7hfKfRhdt69kpZhiEugsev