As a reviewer, sometimes reviewing EPs can be hard. By only having four or five songs to go on as opposed to the nine or ten or more songs which are on an LP, it can sometimes become an arduous task to try to get a feel for what the recording artist is trying to achieve with their sound and how successful they are at achieving it. This, for me, is the measuring rod and starting point for any review of an artist’s work that you do as a reviewer, and sometimes the paucity of material can make it nearly impossible to form an opinion one way or another about said work.
Fortunately, there are also other times as well, when the musical artist that you are reviewing is so magnificent and overpowering with their performance on an EP that the aural evidence is more than enough to not only establish the success of that particular venture but to also serve as a forecast of successful endeavors in the future as well.
Such is the case with Letters From a Broken Heart, the latest release from soul singer-songwriter Whitney McClain. Over the course of the four songs on this EP, McClain, who had a hand in co-writing all of them, displays a luminous talent and ability that is immediately reminiscent of such recent soul legends as Alicia Keys and Amy Winehouse. Possessing a voice that at times sounds like a stunning cross-pollination of the two, McClain through her own individual vocal stylings over these four songs is able to firmly establish herself, however, with an inviting, powerful and spectacular sound all of her own.
From the sultry and white-hot “Fireplace,” to the heart wrenching and soaring “Good With Pain,” to the bold and confrontational “Don’t Believe Ya,” and to the truthful and introspective “Fall So Far,” McClain over perfectly lean instrumentation that is reminiscent of classic Stax and Atlantic soul records, is moving, evocative, charismatic, and attention-grabbing all at the same time.
Released as the first installment of a four EP set, Letters From A Broken Heart firmly plants McClain as a soul force to be reckoned with in the days, months, and years ahead.
It is the work of an emerging and extraordinary talent who in my estimation, sounds like the glorious future of soul music in the 21st century.
Letters From A Broken Heart (Gold Dust LLC) from Whitney McClain is now available on her website .
Credits: Produced by Da Beatfreakz, Ralph B Stacy, Davi, and Curtis Sauce Wilson