As R&B is slowly becoming a genre to reminisce over with icons slowly becoming memories, fresh talents like Beverley Ely are being received with ravenous anticipation. The Essex-based Singer/Songwriter definitely deserves the attention after a year of successive singles which have captured the interest of SBTV, GRM daily who compared her to Emeli Sande and stupidDOPE who believe “she is onto something”. To satisfy the hunger for new music from her vastly growing fanbase – an achievement for someone so new – a 5-track EP titled War has been released which takes inspiration from the likes of Mary J Blige and Shareefa which is sure to follow the legacies it has been inspired from.
This is evident in the song “Hero” which, from the very first bar, embodies that familiar chilled out vibe that comes with the simplicity of having piano music intertwined with the liquid gold vocals of a pure talent, although the majestic interludes of trumpets and background noise of someone talking over the music gives it that heroic “action movie” edge. Breaking the textured instrument and vocals is the honeyed bitterness that pours through Beverley Ely’s voice which asks “how are you not ashamed?” before roaring “how could you walk away” with so much spine tingling anger during the bridge. However that potential power of a voice which is expected to explode during the chorus as one would expect of a “diva” is softened into gentle repetition of the word “hero” which either could be viewed as unsatisfactory or ingenious depending on the listener’s preference for familiarity or intrigue.
The classic smoothness of her idols has however been given an upbeat twist in “Fight For Our Love” with the energetic burst needed to kick-start that fight from fanfares, handclaps and drumbeats that both empowers and invigorates the listeners. The light crispness to the music has echoes of “indie alternative bands” such as The Smiths or Two Door Cinema Club which shows that she has been experimenting with opposing genres which coincidentally fights with her voice to create an amazing sound fit for dancing to. The challenging quality to her voice captures the essence of an argument perfectly especially as there are harmonies that indent certain words with sarcastic frustration that make the listener bristle at the injustice of Ely’s silent verbal sparring partner.
The battleground is quite the common feature in this EP with the title-track “War” picking up where the fight on “Fight For Our Love” left off, with a suspenseful anticipatory synth instrument creating high pitched tension and deeper interludes of what could be a lower strings instrument before Ely begins her attack. She starts off explaining her thoughts in the classic pain of R&B before lowering into darker tones with the battle cry, “no time to procrastinate the battlefield awaits” to the addition of a banging drum which explodes into that voice that deserves an Emeli Sande comparison.
The repetitive atmospheric chill of Beverley Ely’s “Unrecognizable” draws the listener into Ely’s best vocal contribution, only enhanced by the simplicity of the track’s sonics which barely strays from the original waltz like format. This allows her crescendo of power into the chorus to only grow into a harmony laden lament of someone she used to know very much like Jennifer Lopez’ “No One” but with a lot more spice like a Rita Ora piece. This definitely is one of her stronger tracks as the simplicity of the lyric allows the listener to be pulled into Ely’s expressive chorus. This only increases in emotion in the bridge where the bass is accentuated while her voice is masked before ploughing into one beautiful drawn out note that sends shivers down the spine.
Beverley Ely captures the very essence of being human in the War EP with emotions being hurled left right and centre at whoever stands in her way. In a way her feisty bats and challenging lyrics only highlight a human willingness to trust and be hurt in order to learn and return with a powerful voice wounded but surviving – a must for an R&B artist who must be willing to bear their souls so others can share their pain. That attitude is definitely going to only further Beverley’s career as she progresses onto bigger things as can be expected of someone so raw and ready for battle.
Download: Beverley Ely – War EP