Mark Elliott - Maybe She Will EP (Self-Released)

'Singer-songwriter' is a catch-all phrase devoid of any real meaning. Literally, it's someone who sings and writes songs – but would you call Nicki Minaj a singer-songwriter? No. It's a term that's been reappropriated for vaguely folky, vaguely poppy solo acts clutching an acoustic guitar and a few ditties about how breakups suck – Ed Sheeran, take a bow. But we've had some smashing artists breaking that mould in recent years: Lucy Rose, Bon Iver and heck, even Ellie Goulding. Leicester lad Mark Elliott, fortunately, sits smack bang amidst the latter list. Though there are the traditional acoustic guitar-pop ballads with flecks of folk, it's done with a cheeky grace and a smattering of ingenuity.

Released Feb 13th, 2013 via self-release / By Larry Day
Mark Elliott - Maybe She Will EP (Self-Released) The Maybe She Will EP opens with the title track. It's lit up by tinges of funk-blues guitar, the impeccable voice of Elliott and skittering drum beats – being the percussionist for local act Humble He has really proved valuable here, and the rhythm isn't left by the wayside. It's a focal part of the music. 'Fool For Loving You' kicks off as an a cappella bouquet, with layers upon layers of voices adding a new note, a new tone. The obliquely synthetic drum machines add a new dimension to the singer-songwriter dynamic, an electronic timbre that simply gels with the quasi-gospel vocals. Elliott's voice really stands out here.

However, regardless of how good the EP is as a whole, there is one track that truly stands out. 'Pay For Now' imjects thwomping bass kicks, handclaps and luscious belts of distortion to sculpt an epic dancefloor stampede. It's a bit post-rock in its structure, there's a well-timed rap (courtesy of Curtis Clacey) and the space between notes/instrumentation dropping out only serves to heighten the anthemic nature of the cut. It's got chart-friendly dubstep wubwubwubbing, classic rock guitar soloing. What's not to like?

Like a good EP should, he showcases all his best features, safely. A full-length will give him the space to full spread his wings and fully whip out his avante-garde tendencies. Elliott is a tiny fish in a massive lake. Singer-songwriters come ten a penny. But he's set himself apart, demonstrating a versatility and a glorious facet for experimentation that will ensure he has a way to navigate himself through the murky myriad of James Morrison's and Paolo Nutini's.