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Holly Conlan – Fascinator
October 3, 2009

Conlan debuted in 2005 with a promising debut album and made a pitstop with the “Bird” EP in 2008. Her solid songwriting brings us pretty pop songs, often based on a nice, well-written piano melody. She now releases “Fascinator”, a brand new album with a 13-song tracklist.

When reviewing her previous release (“Bird”) I found that Conlan is definitely a gifted songwriter and has fine vocal control. And while her music was of high quality I felt she needed a little more time and experience to really stand out in the crowd of young female singer/songwriters. She falls in the category of Sara Bareilles, Laura Jansen, Vanessa Carlton and the likes, but where these artists were able to really break through, that point is yet to be reached by Holly Conlan. All the ingredients were there, she just needed to find a comfortable and steady place where she could really find her own sound and make her music more unique.

On “Fascinator”, in the basis, not much has changed. Conlan still writes beautiful pop songs, ranging from bouncy radio tunes to heartfelt ballads and more melancholic singer/songwriter pieces. She shows more range and variety than she did on her previous releases, which indicates she’s grown musically and more importantly that she’s grown more comfortable in what she’s doing. From the edgy opener You & Me (very interesting arrangement!) to the heartfelt Take The Blame, the radio-friendly Uh Oh, the folky Good Ones (in its simplicity one of the strongest tracks on the album!), to the ultimate melancholy on I Am Alone, the potential hit single Beautiful Night and the intimate closer Sparkle, the album is remarkably solid and proves to do justice to the title as most of the songs are very fascinating.

Conlan doesn’t rely on the piano as heavily as she did before and this gives her more freedom to let her musical creativity run wild (in a good way). Good variety, great arrangements and at times a nearly poetic way with words lays the basis for a collection of good songs that together make a very interesting album and musically two steps forward for Holly Conlan. More than before she embraces her singer/songwriter roots and therefore you can feel much more of a connection with the songs. That she was a talented young musician is something we already knew, but now she is proving it to the world with her new record “Fascinator”.

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