One stand-out track after another
Malvika Padin
11:37 19th November 2020

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Littered with contemplative confidence and life-affirming symbolism, Katy J Pearson’s debut as a solo artist sees her bask in the bright light of individuality as she redefines her existence within the world of music. Aptly named Return, the album is the close of Pearson’s previous musical career as one half of a project with her brother and the first lines of a new sonic story. 

Jumping effortlessly from upbeat rock to laid-back country in a smooth yet impactful pace, the collection of tracks are equally filled with carefree, upbeat pop as they are with lovelorn lyricism. Easing into the 10-track record with the inviting earworm sounds of opening tracks 'Tonight' and 'Beautiful Soul', Pearson establishes her diverse musicality and vocal delivery early on.  

The sonic styling of the album maintains consistent highs with energetic indie-pop arrangements such as the album’s ode to independence 'Fix Me Up' and sparse simplicity on stripped back offerings such as 'Return' lying side by side. 

Proving herself capable of writing no-holds-barred anthemic numbers like 'Take Back the Radio' as well as tender narratives of personal failures on the title track, Pearson’s debut boasts one stand-out track after another. But there is no high point quite like the slow-burn instrumental piece 'Something Real', which builds from quiet beginnings to a powerful, emotive finish. Hazy and distant yet warm and familiar, the track is a stark reminder of Pearson’s unique musicality which titters between indie folk and pop. 

There is a freedom like no other in Pearson’s vocal delivery whether in cuts of yearning such as ‘Hey You’ or the musically intense style of ‘Miracle’ which boasts impressive arrangements on strings and keys that beckon electric melodies laid easily over acoustic guitars and soft organs.

Despite being soundscapes that can be listened to endlessly, Return is not free of imperfections, particularly where the sonic arrangements are concerned. But what Pearson does brilliant is allow the imperfections to add to the musical journey, as her thoughtful songwriting and soaring vocals accommodate to the organic sound she weaves – a fact which is particularly evident on closing track 'Waiting for the Day', which is stripped back, intimate and flawed in the best of ways. 

Incredibly freeing yet absolutely captivating, this album comes with an overall message of awe-inspiring resilience that leaves listeners with messages of hope and humility. Pearson reminds you to trust yourself as you chase your dreams while still letting go and giving up a little control to the world. 

Return is out now via Heavenly Recordings.

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