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Amelia Coburn - Nuke

Amelia Coburn was probably the surprise 'discovery' at GNUF17, and she wowed the crowd with her solo set. She's a diminutive figure and looked incredibly lost and almost frightened as she walked out onto the stage at the packed Lawrence Batley theatre in Huddersfield. She almost looked like a rabbit in the headlights as her big eyes looked out from the stage.

With no airs and graces, she confidently performed many of the songs on this album, and enthralled the audience, winning a standing ovation. Why? Well on the face of it, it's a simple uke backing, mostly strumming, some fingerpicking. Nothing fancy. But, an accomplished voice that although she provides a fair rendition of many 70s and 80s covers, she adds a very unique taste, and that's where the magic happens.

Her Teeside accent is allowed to accentuate the most southern of songs, giving them a surprise character. Also some accentuated pronunciation lets you into an apparent vulnerability of this young musician. She explained how she's been influenced by her father's record collection, and for many of us, it's a fresh reminicence of songs we either grew up with, or simply know very well.

"Don't You Want Me Baby" is a great example of how she makes songs different, a lilt in the word "baby", make it a surprise.

"Perfect Day" is sung with feeling. My enduring memory of this song is David Bowie's version, but honestly, you can add this version to stand along with the greats. Not just a cover, but a very valid tribute. I'm sure both Messrs. Reed and Bowie would be proud.

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She's a master of the percussive nature of the ukulele, and this is a raw album as mentioned before, just uke and vocals. Some songs are subtle, but occasionally you hear her almost beat the ukulele into submission as she does on "Ghost Town" to great effect.

Then, she takes on The Police with "Message In A Bottle". Brilliant.

Worth mentioning, too is Amelia's Mini Album with one of her original songs "Song Of The Sea Rover" - an amazing story telling song, as well as some more covers. An indication of more things to come? I hope so. Go to her Bandcamp page and buy both.

It's very well recorded and the raw nature of the album being just solo ukulele and solo voice throughout is actually one of the great features of it.

I know that Amelia is studying at university, so I guess output and appearances may be limited over the next couple of years, but she's a name to look out for, a rising talent and stands out as something unique in a sea of cover artists.

This album is utterly endearing in its simplicity and uniqueness.

14 tracks, 45 minutes.

1. Call Me
2. Made Of Stone
3. Don't You Want Me?
4. Mad World
5. Sunny Afternoon
6. This Charming Man
7. Perfect Day
8. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
9. Message In A Bottle
10. Ghost Town
11. Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
12. Wuthering Heights
13. My Favourite Dress
14. Life On Mars

Review - Simon Taylor, 19th August 2017

So much better than your notorious rendition of "Wuthering Heights", Simon!