“Try to change your mind just like the weather,” starts Birdy on her new album Beautiful Lies, and immediately it’s hard not to stifle an almighty eye-roll. What happened to the young talent (full name, lest we forget, Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde – so we’ll stick to Birdy) that managed to wring pure and delicate emotion out of the simplest piano ballads? It’s rather ironic that such a trite line comes on a song called Growing Pains.
The Birdy we knew is largely absent on this new album, as she seems to be wrestling with growth both in age and sound. What that means is that she’s drifting further down that Radio 2 river, her melodies light and inoffensive and backed by instrumentation we’ve heard countless times elsewhere. Birdy isn’t Florence Welch, so she doesn’t quite pull off the gigantic sound of Keeping Your Head Up, whose beats outfox the singer trying to keep up.
Oddly enough, it’s an actual respite to hear something like Deep End, where it’s just the voice and piano, and Birdy pierces us once again in a way that skips the melodrama of, say, Rae Morris. But then she’s rather quite content serving us a line like “our human hearts forget how strong they are” on a song called Wild Horses. By the time Silhouette comes along it seems Birdy doesn’t really care any more, and neither do we – sure this record is beautiful in its construction, but it continues to serve the lie that there might actually be a place for Birdy in a modern landscape.