With this second LP, however, the songstress proves she’s more than just a voice. There are touches of Coldplay’s epicness in the sweeping chords of opener and single ‘Wings’ and hints of Adele’s range on the gutsy ‘All You Never Say’. Further into the album, ‘Words as a Weapon’ shows off melancholy violins and plucked mandolin that were undoubtedly inspired by her co-writer, Mumford And Sons’ Ben Lovett.
As well as Lovett, Birdy has had Ryan Tedder (who’s written for Beyoncé) helping out, along with Muse producer Rich Costey and Rage Against The Machine bassist Tim Commerford. With talent like that on hand, ‘Fire Within’ was never going to be a terrible album – but has the music industry machine managed to produce some more than mediocre here?
Yes, actually. This collection of touching originals reveals Birdy’s listening habits and, more importantly, her personality. That’s something we don’t get time to register with ‘X Factor’ megastars such as One Direction, whose urgent poppiness feels like a bombardment. The fact that we didn’t witness Birdy’s every move in making the genuine and considered effort that is ‘Fire Within’, doesn’t mean she shouldn’t take her place in the pop pantheon. Buy this album here
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In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”