Having just come fresh off a traumatising Birdy review, you’d think we’d have had our fill of female singer-songwriter types. But Robyn Sherwell has always stood out for us. Her brand of alt-pop doesn’t break any norms, but it sings with a sincerity and heart that few can muster at such an early stage in their career.
Opening with No News, it’s very much the sort of wistful sea-gazing style that’s the winner here. Sherwell takes her time building her canvas, adding flecks of vocal, brushes of piano, and layers of enticing instrumentation to create a rather vivid entry into her world. It segues perfectly into the nautical Islander, as the ocean’s daughter gives us a modern shanty that plants her flag firmly into a shore she hasn’t even reached yet.
And through it all, it never sounds contrived. Sherwell tackles her own words with aplomb – in her hands even a simple line like “sometimes I just wanna cry” takes on depth beyond depth on album highlight Love Somebody, while My Hand communicates melody and emotion that someone like Ellie Goulding could only dream of.
A self-titled album often feels like it could be biographical, though with most of that ilk we never really feel like we get under the skin of an artist. Not the case here, as Robyn Sherwell very much gives us Robyn Sherwell, full of fears and pain, and she turns out to be one of the most heartwarming, loveable newcomers we could hope to know.