by Kris Smith

Kate Stapley releases her new single, a digital double ‘A’ side, today – featuring the tracks ‘Hermit‘ and ‘Hours‘.

Only the second solo record proper from this London-born, Bristol-based DIY singer-songwriter, it follows last year’s well-received six-track Centella EP, also issued on the Breakfast Records label, with two more songs in her trademark singular, slightly-uncategorisable style, her engagingly heartfelt vocals here overlaying subtle, skilful production by Oliver Baldwin (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey).

Loud Women has caught live performances from Kate at both folk and riot grrrl gigs over the last couple of years, and she demonstrated an ability to hold the attention of a room with only an acoustic guitar and her wits which transcends genre – and thus helps to make any attempt to gauge her musical influences here (Kathryn Williams, Martha Wainwright, Peter Doherty, Nico?) nigh-on impossible.

Making a mental note to quiz her on the subject sometime soon, we’ll settle for observing that it’s a rare type of wistful, autumnal, yet happily-in-love song that begins with imagery such as ‘Hermit‘s “I’ve been pissing like a racehorse.” A blend of such deftly-wielded curveball turns of phrase with relatable observations of everyday vulnerabilities perhaps explains why Kate projects an aura of wisdom beyond her years – albeit as a relative veteran, with a decade of gigs in rearview.

Second track ‘The Hours‘ is the reverse image of its ‘A’ side, an intimate confessional, volunteering doubts to contrast ‘Hermit‘s happy ending. “I will stay inside today, and run circles round my crinoline” is a stand-out line.

An intriguing, beguiling two-track taster for Kate Stapley’s forthcoming debut album, ‘Hermit’/’The Hours’ is out now.

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