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Freya Ridings - Freya Ridings (Album Review)

Tuesday, 23 July 2019 Written by Huw Baines

There is a certain sort of ballad ideally placed to soundtrack emotive, potentially plot-resonant, montages in prestige TV shows. They are rich and showy but also somehow unobtrusive—when coupled with the visuals they amount to a powerful dose of emotional manipulation.

Freya Ridings is very, very good at writing this sort of song. Her self-titled debut is stacked to the gills with them—including Lost Without You, which performed the role on an episode of Love Island before entering the UK top 10—proffering immaculately executed, unfailingly earnest sentimentality at every turn. The quality of songcraft and performance acknowledged, it’s a little overwhelming in its beige agreeableness.

Ridings is a Brit School graduate, like Adele, Leona Lewis and Amy Winehouse before her. Here she displays all the ingredients required to follow in the footsteps of the first two—her voice is unfailingly immaculate, carrying several monster lighters-aloft moments—and none of the unruly creativity of the latter. The sum is a sort of M&S brand Florence + the Machine.

Leaning heavily on self-reflection and strength in adversity without ever stooping so low as a witty kiss off or splash of bravado, Ridings reels off rote words over tasteful piano-pop topped with the odd electronic percussive note or watery detour into guitar chorus.

“I’m going to build castles from the rubble of your love,” she sings on Castles. “I’m going to be more than you ever thought I was.” On Love Is Fire—her staple live set opener—there are enough flames to consume only a matchbox house.

Produced by a phalanx of people with previous in this arena, including Greg Kurstin with his Adele hat firmly in place, Ridings’ bow is a thoroughly nice, thoroughly mediocre outing in pop engineering. It’s like entering a world where all the lurid, fun elements of chart music have been covered up with expensive, sensible wallpaper.

Freya Ridings Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon November 11 2019 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Tue November 12 2019 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Thu November 14 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sat November 16 2019 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Sun November 17 2019 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Mon November 18 2019 - BRIGHTON Brighton Dome
Wed November 20 2019 - CARDIFF St David's Hall
Thu November 21 2019 - SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall Southampton
Fri November 22 2019 - LONDON Eventim Apollo

Click here to compare & buy Freya Ridings Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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