July 2001 – EP reviews – A Girl Called Eddy’s ‘Tears All Over Town’ (“torch songs set to low glow, fanned into sudden flares by a crack in control”)

31 Jul

A Girl Called Eddy: 'Tears All Over Town' EP

A Girl Called Eddy: ‘Tears All Over Town’ EP

One of my small daydreams of alternate pop history involves Clare Torry. Having raised the hairs on the back of my neck with her ecstatic singing on Pink Floyd’s Great Gig in the Sky, she wouldn’t have slipped away anonymously. She’d’ve gone into the studio with songs for herself and produced at least one album with that voice, that understanding set free. When (on Francis Dunnery‘s Close My Door) I first heard Eddy Moran’s arresting wordless vocal soaring skywards – twisting, keening, cracking and surging – I felt that same hair-raising chill. Flashed straight back to the same daydream.

I’m luckier in my dreaming sometimes. Although, for her debut EP as A Girl Called Eddy, she’s not repeating the magnificent Torry-esque splendour that turned my head the first time, Eddy has found other ways to chill me. Her songs could’ve waltzed out of the ’30s, or the ’60s: torch songs set to low glow, fanned into sudden flares by a crack in control. Cool heartbreak in her voice, she’s like a more ambiguous Tracey Thorn. Not someone who’ll glut her despair centre stage: she’s more like someone who you might catch staring at you piercingly from beside the bar, quiet, wise and intent.


 
Fading does its bit to draw back the curtains of sorrow. A fragment of Blue Nile lushness, slurs and fake orchestra, it revolves like a ferris wheel trailed by a puff of New Orleans trumpet. Cinematic, but less so than Soundtrack of Your Life; which – set on capturing the swinging ’60s side of Eddy’s imagination with its bossa lilt and breezy “bah-bah” chorus – doesn’t follow the torch course so closely. But beyond its cigarettes, its memories from film and old photos, its gushes of grand Mellotron and sitars, it has its centre of bereftness. “If ignorance is bliss, then seal it with a kiss, / but it was never supposed to end like this.”


 
Heartache – eased along with upright bass, a mascara-slur of brush drums and soft dips of weary piano – brings out the real phantoms of loss. “You’ve seen his face somewhere before. / Now you know for sure / that you can call him heartache – yeah, you can call him that,” Eddy breathes. “Yeah, you can call him heartache – you’ll never get it back.” Ragged memories and the force of erotic imagination are where these particular ghosts live, and Eddy’s well aware of it.


 
A ghost of another kind haunts Girls Can Really Tear You Up Inside – the spectre of a vanished, never-known father. Like the bewildered girl in the song, Eddy simply pieces together scraps. Yet the result is a reverie carrying its own kind of romantic longing – “she’s heard you sing / and that your eyes are very, very, very blue…” In this web of connections and betrayal, there’s as much lurking passion, fear and anticipation as there is in any straight love song. Eddy reveals this, trace by trace, as she rides an elliptical path to its frightened heart, addressing the vanished man as she does so. “Why do you run, / why do you hide / from all you are?” Eddy muses, a dreamy voice of conscience and excitement amongst the traffic noise and the strums of an almost blues-y harpsichord. “You’re just a man, but she could tear you up inside.”


 
The greatest crack in the cool comes with her take on Stephen Bishop’s The Same Old Tears, recorded in her Greenwich Village kitchen in a flash of inspiration, with just an acoustic guitar and a divine echo. “Seeing you as an old photograph, it hurts too much to laugh,” Eddy sings, midway between croon, tears and laughter, before soaring off into a beautiful blue plate-cracking keen – “But I’m all right, I’m all right…”


 
Just for a flash, you see to the knot of the problem, and need know no more. Wanting more is different, of course. Eddy knows this – and, listening to this EP, so do I, now.

A Girl Called Eddy: ‘Tears All Over Town’
Le Grand Magistery, HRH-021 (6 16656 00212 3)
CD-only EP
Released:
31st July 2001
Get it from: (2020 update) Le Grand Magistery; or stream via Deezer, Apple Music or Spotify. Different versions of Heartache and Girls Can Really Tear You Up Inside appear on the eponymous debut album by A Girl Called Eddy.
A Girl Called Eddy online:
Homepage Facebook Twitter MySpace Soundcloud Bandcamp Last FM Apple Music YouTube Deezer Google Play Pandora Spotify Tidal Instagram Amazon Music
 

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