Part of my Gig Monkey column in the December Ocelot was a short review of the latest recordings from Swindon’s Alice Offley,who is something of a musical chameleon with a back catalogue of huge variety. Having been in bands, dabbled with dance and pop influenced solo work she decided to record songs in the same style she often plays them live.
Alice Offley is one of my favourite artists to review. As well as the music constantly being amazing, when she submits a recording she always includes some sweets, this time finding little lollipops with a skull design that cleverly matches the album artwork. Trading under the simple moniker “Alice” for this incarnation of her multi-faceted musical personality, we are on first name terms now. But, bribery and informality apart, what is the record like? As the title suggests, this is a stripped back to basics recording, it is simply Alice and her piano, nothing more, nothing less. And to be honest, you don’t need anything else. As with the production there is also rawness and a stark simplicity to these songs. They are heart-on-her-sleeve confessionals, full of emotion; guilt, pain, hopes and tears infuse both the melodies and the lyrics. You really get the impression that these are songs from the heart, that Alice has a very good idea what makes herself tick as she has to dig deep into her soul so often. What you end up with is a record that leaves you drained at the end as you share these moments with her, and surely it is right that an album takes you on the same journey as the artist?