Having grown up between England and Germany, Roxanne de Bastion eventually decided to leave Berlin for London, with only her guitar and a one way ticket. Touring the UK, mainland Europe and America through use of public transport, and after self-releasing her debut record, the DIY slant to her music is equally prominent in this four track collection. Her first full length release, The Real Thing, was produced by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor), and since then she has attracted attention from BBC6, XFm, Amazing Radio and various BBC Introducing Stations.
For obvious reasons, one of the paramount traits of an exceptional singer/songwriter is a powerful and unique voice – this is a characteristic Roxanne can most definitely brag about having. Unfortunately, opening title track Seeing You isn’t the best off the EP to showcase this. Albeit commencing with a charming and alluring fragility, moments of her annunciation give way to a heavier, more cumbersome sound, with no apparent rhyme or reason as cue for the changes. Certain lines edge towards spoken word, and others try to create a layered sound which whilst executed in a manner suitable for a live performance, sound breathless in a studio recording.
It’s a real shame for the record to start as such, as the following three tracks are absolutely spectacular, my personal favourite coming in the second, Wasteland. The simplistic guitar that serves as the backbone to the music opens the track with excellent poise, before subduing to support the vocals. Whilst the track holds a clear structure, there is a definite sense of the whole thing blending seamlessly, with a more definite close than that of the opening track.
Rerun adds a different slant to the EP, with piano and percussion providing a more prominent build-up in the sound, replacing the usual acoustic guitar. Whilst this is a common feature in acoustic music, instead of writing a tear-jerking love song to accompany the alterations, Roxanne’s vocals provide a strange mix of innocence and experience, speaking more of issues of self-purpose than loss. This makes her work a real stand-out, with her capability of combining the personal and political without shouting or weeping.
EP finale Same Moon touches on the personal side, with a reassuring sound breaching into the track – not just to the “you” for whom the track was written, but right to the listener. The fragility is once again a prominent feature in the track, and contrasts the boldness the powers the end of the record, in the line, “our day will come”. Here, the determined and delicacy are mixed in more suitable proportion, to wind the EP to a controlled close.