Having already turned many heads and garnered many streams with her early singles, Lizzie Reid‘s debut EP is probably as highly anticipated as a debut EP can be. Pleasingly, Cubicle does not disappoint. This is a diverse, tastefully produced and lyrically rich 21 minutes of music from one of Glasgow’s most exciting up-and-comers.
Projecting a wry and weary wisdom with a knowing sense of humour, Reid has the knack of writing songs that feel familiar and relatable without being derivative. It’s no mean feat to pull off breakup songs that sound as fresh and affecting as ‘Tribute’ or ‘Seamless’, the latter of which is an early contender for most deftly written chorus of the year.
Comparisons to Laura Marling have predictably been made but, though perhaps inevitable, this likening is reductive. Sure, ‘Always Lovely’ is all nylon string warmth and wandering melodies, but the EP’s seven tracks cover a lot of musical ground. Jazzy seventh chords and glassy electric guitars abound too, embellished with gorgeous string arrangements and punctuated with brief spells of riotous distorted exuberance, such as the crescendo of the phenomenal ‘Been Thinking About You.’ Reminiscent of Adrienne Lenker and Buck Meek’s work with Big Thief, this track is perhaps the highlight – although the entire record has plenty to say.
The candid intimacy of Reid’s lyrics are hopelessly charming. From the sureity of “I don’t regret a word that I said when I was in your bed” to the quiet sadness and gentle humour of “your new girl told me I’m beautiful”, this is a voice that comes to us self-assured and fully formed. Reid is a subtle storyteller with a delightful turn of phrase, and it’s impossible not to root for her as protagonist in the tale the EP spins.
Belying its claustrophobic title, closing track ‘Cubicle’ feels like the most spacious moment on the record. A warm, open groove backs some of the finest lyrics on the record, building to a glorious wordless, string-laden crescendo reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers’ Scott Street. It’s the perfect ending to a sublime set of beautifully written, brilliantly orchestrated songs. An absolutely remarkable debut.
Words: Ali Begg