When we met Betsy for our PressPLAY OK podcast, one thing was clear: Elizabeth Humfrey is of a different time. The way she carries herself, the things she’s in tune with, even her own experiences in a caravan (not in that way, steady on), all remind us that pop just doesn’t make them like this any more. If they ever even did at all.
On her self-titled debut, Betsy posits herself as a modern diva. You can gather that just from her lungs alone, with comparisons to Cher and (er) Heather Small being not exactly far-fetched. You can also gather that from the disco-strobed production that she’s delivered on old songs like Wanted More (still a corker) and new ones likes Last Time We Danced.
It’s high camp but it is, we have to admit, ridiculously endearing. That is in no small part thanks to Betsy’s towering presence, steamrolling every song with an often-operatic vocal that feels like it would bust not just your windows but those of the ISS. That house piano sound on Heavy Head is out of the 90s with literally no sense of irony, like it’s about to go into a megamix with 2 Unlimited; elsewhere the power ballad gets a defibrillator in the form of You Won’t Love Me. It’s not often we say this, but it’s in this sort of song that Betsy excels, and we’d happily listen to a full album of her coercing tears from our cold, dead heart.
It’s probably too much to expect Betsy to use that unique voice in a modern milieu, because her own sensibility isn’t swayed that way. She’s a delightful anachronism in a contemporary setting though, an eccentric who doesn’t seem to give a fuck, and a voice that’ll be hard to hide away from. Your parents will love it, Radio 2 will love it, and you’ll secretly love it even though you’ll swear blind to all your hipster friends that you absolutely do not.