The rise of Blackburn singer/songwriter Charlotte Mary O’Connor has been steady and sure since the release of 2013 EP Colour My Heart. Demonstrating refreshing songwriting and a nocturnal production style, she immediately drew comparison to dark dancefloor dwellers including Goldfrapp and Jessie Ware.
Tonight she steps out a star all of her own; confident, bold and notably upbeat. The reaction from the crowd is warm as she begins with cuts from her debut record ‘Careless People’. The record is a combination of all the impressive work Charlotte has done in the last few years, new material such as the booming, brooding ‘River’ gleam through the darkness. Older cuts such as ‘On & On’ provide warm familiarity to fans that have been omnipresent throughout this special singer/songwriter’s rise skyward.
The bewitching vocal tilts between breathy R & B whispers and lofty high notes, Charlotte overjoyed in exercising her own impressive chords. The show is suitably cinematic for an album that takes its name from The Great Gatsby, the mystical ‘Medicine Man’ twisting and contorting in the darkness before her alerting vocal cuts light through the audience. The biggest reaction of the evening goes to the noir folk of album opener ‘Blackout’, a single originally released last year that built momentum on both sides of the Atlantic. The building tension more notable in a live setting as Charlotte indulges in the quietness of its verse before rushing percussion flood the chorus in dramatic crescendo.
The cinematic ‘Darkest Hour’ left the most lasting of impressions, a perfectly structured pop track that builds with faultless tempo and opens to the most ground shaking of choral hooks. The gospel undertone only raises Charlotte’s commanding lead higher, taking the whole audience to church. Finding a sweet spot between Lana Del Rey and Alicia Keys, Charlotte has range, depth, accessibility and drama to her music. There is a presence about her performance although moments like ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘If My House Is Burning’ cast oppressive shadow on lesser album tracks. With some quality control, a future much brighter than her nocturnal tones awaits.