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Amanda Grace - Give Me Away (self-released)

8 February 2024

There are those who think that for music to move forward, artists should create new genres or at least fuse existing ones into strange new forms, that we need to do away with the old to usher in the new. But the reality is that there is nothing new under the musical sun. Even genres that claimed to wipe the slate clean were about evolution rather than revolution. Punk was just fast, angry pop, alt-rock was never really an alternative to anything much, just more of the same, and rap-rock…well, the clues in the name. So, if there is no such thing as a musical revolution, all you can do is look at existing forms and try to do them better.

And that, I would argue, is what Amanda Grace does here. The forms are familiar, a deft blend of pop and folk, with some understated rock, a few blues licks and a smattering of soul, but, as always, it ain’t what you do; it’s how you do it. And she does it well. So damned well!

From the jaunty folk-pop grooves of the opening titular track to the sophisticated swagger of the blues-infused “Wouldn’t Be You”. From the spacious and standout piano-ballad that is “Love Yourself” to the hushed and hazy serenity of “Mother’s Lullaby”, Amanda Grace covers a lot of ground. But at each stop, she makes that genre her own. She even allows herself room to turn Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” into simply the most seductive thing ever committed to music. Fact! (Fight me!)

And as she hops from one genre to another, she doesn’t try to change, tweak, alter, or reinvent them. She simply owns them. And that is the secret of making yourself stand apart from the pack. Most genres have already found a somewhat recognisable form; all you can do is work within the boundaries and do it better than it has been done before.

Amanda Grace is found doing this throughout this collection of songs. It doesn’t hurt that she also knows how to write incredible, immediate, and infectious songs.

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