Sounding like a cross between Lana del Rey, Suzanne Vega, Marina, and more than a touch of Kate Bush, Amy Studt’s new album, ‘Happiest Girl In The Universe’ is eleven tracks of exquisite, hard-hitting and deeply personal, gorgeousness.
Allowing her sumptuous vocals to shine through, accompanied much of the time only by piano, Studt lets the listener take a look inside her head, with each song title denoted by a chapter, and the album serving as a diary outlining a journey through depression, hope, and redemption.
The tracks are sombre and introspective, mostly down-tempo, and at times, the vocals are a little jarringly off-key. All this adds to the somewhat cinematic experience of listening to the album; close your eyes and you can feel Amy’s state of mind. Chapter 6, ‘One Is The Only Number’ feels as if she’s drowning in a sea of responsibilities, not knowing which way to go. Things seem to have taken a brighter turn however in Chapter 7, ‘This Time’; even though the piano and other instrumentation is quite sparse, the tempo is more hopeful and the mood is brighter. It drops down a notch however in ‘Different Coloured Pills’ – completely in keeping with the rollercoaster of depression – ups and downs and uppers and downers and hitting the lowest of the low, we hope at this point she’s hit rock bottom and that the only way is up.
‘Happiest Girl In The World’ was recorded with Toby Kidd, of London indie-pop band Hatcham Social, and Amy released ‘Different Coloured Pills’ (Chapter 8) and ‘I Was Jesus In Your Veins’ (Chapter 1) as early teaser tracks. She’s since followed those with a further four tracks, ‘Let The Music Play’, ‘Sleepwalker’, ‘Overdose’, and ‘Water’ released over the course of this year.
Studt’s voice is sublime, even when she’s at her lowest point. ‘Violently With Love’ (Chapter 9) sees her channelling Bjork with feats of vocal gymnastics, and evocatively capturing the peaks and troughs and heightened emotional responses of depression. There’s a desperateness, and her strong desire to get well is clearly shown. The listener is more than just along for the ride, we are pulled in and are experiencing the journey as Studt herself, we will, along with her in the final song, the title track, that she doesn’t die before she lives, and hope beyond hope that she does finally become the happiest girl in the universe.
‘Happiest Girl In The Universe’, by Amy Studt, is out October 4 via Crocodile Laboratories. You can see Amy live at the following:
5th – Elsewhere, Margate (in-store)
9th – Victoria Dalston, London (album launch)
19th – Ventnor Exchange, Isle Of Wight (in-store)
28th – Lending Room, Leeds
30th – LIVE, Wakefield
2nd – Hug & Pint, Glasgow (with Penelope Isles)
3rd – The Castle, Manchester