Take one girl, an acoustic guitar, a hat full of songs and you have a licence to print money (for the time being, anyway). Steph Fraser is the latest in a long line of wistful female singer/songwriters who have crawled out of the nation's open mic nights (as their press agents would have you believe) over the last few years.
On her debut EP, title track 'Purple Sun' is primed with the necessary big chorus, harmonies and a slick production, all ready for an assault on the charts. This, plus the other tunes, demonstrate an Eva Cassidy-influenced mainstream approach.
As a collection of songs, the EP is very well produced and certainly has a polished feel to it. Steph has an earnest, strong voice that carries all three songs with real gusto, but she could be swapped with any other vocalist in the genre and you wouldn't even notice. The production is, as noted before, pretty slick, yet there is absolutely no character to the sound. The tracks are pretty heftily mastered to get them to stand out and this doesn't help when attempting to bring any subtleties of the music to the fore.
There is an overwhelming feeling throughout the recording of having 'heard it all before'. The EP is far too generic and has very little style of its own. There was more than one occasion where I ran to my record collection to find where Steph had maybe lifted a riff or melody from. Creating something original is very difficult and a musician is nothing if not a sum of their influences, but she does need to add a twist of her own next time.