Faith Eliott is a natural born storyteller. With lyrics which take you on a journey guided by the most beautiful metaphors. With musical mastery which rings with absolute clarity. With narration leaving no stone un-turned, no detail left unsaid. With the release of Insects, Faith Eliott has truly made a spectacular entrance to the world of singer songwriting like few before.
"I’ve had lots of material kicking around for a while now and tend to be horribly indecisive, so it feels good to have something cohesive to show for myself"
The first thing we immediately recognize when in conversation is that Faith Eliott is extremely modest. Perhaps, even, Faith doesn't know how good their music really is. The Edinburgh based singer songwriter is fairly new to the Scottish music scene, and probably has little to compare to. It's a good position to be in for Third Outing, because we can offer the comparisons which need to be made. Truth is there's only one thing to say, the release of the debut EP Insects on Song, By Toad Records is spectacular.
"The songs were written whilst I was living in rural Nebraska last year on an artist residency. It was just a totally incredible, surreal place. Like a little postage stamp of wilderness surrounded by hundreds of acres of identical corn fields. We were living in half-ruined farmhouses and barns.
The video for the song Insects is all made up of footage I filmed there"
The title track Insects is indeed the perfect introduction to Faith's style. The dreamy acoustic guitar ostinato builds in emotion and serves to progress the ever more intriguing story being told. Faith's harmonies really stand out, and the introduction of the strings serves a great purpose. It results in a truly emotive and thought-provoking piece of music.
But where Faith really excels is their narrative and delivery. The opening track to the EP Pyrite Ammonite is the perfect example. The crescendo in the story portrayed, the imagery of relationship between protagonists, the tiny details found in the most important, insignificant things. It all colludes under a perfect delivery which suddenly makes everything so clear. Faith has discovered the perfect way to express the things which always seem to remain stored, confused and unused in our minds.
"I had a tutor when I was studying animation that said you should be able to describe what a film is about in a single sentence. I sometimes find that useful advice with writing songs too.
If I’m struggling with a lyric, if there's too much going on or something, I try and strip it back. Once I know what I’m trying to say, I can go to town with descriptions and metaphors and lists. I like lists"
Pyrite Ammonite is the epitome of this approach to writing music. It's a simple story about fossil hunting with Mum. But like all great songs the most normal of things can be made magical with the small detail, by giving clarity, by building a relationship. That's what Faith's music achieves so easily, the fact that the story being told is now my story, because I feel like I was there. Only the best songwriters can really do this.
Which is why it becomes difficult to compare Faith Eliott to other songwriters, simply because there are so many original qualities about their music. Comparisons will be made to the likes of Joanna Newsom who utilizes a similar vocal delivery and quirkiness in melody. But Faith's style is unique, the intonation cannot be replicated, and though every singer tells their story in their own way, Faith's is shared so openly.
"I really like Joanna Newsom. I can understand why one might draw that comparison, especially in relation to lyrics. I suppose we both tend towards a sort of maximal magic realism.
Lots of animals. Lots of swarming, clustering, stampeding things"
Faith Eliott has made a big statement with this debut EP release, so much so that Insects must be regarded as one of the best recent acoustic releases in Scottish music, if not the entire UK. What remains interesting is the direction Faith will take when the full length record is released. Expect more provoking stories for sure, but also a delivery in song which will hopefully find it's way into the ears of many more people.