by Richard Hart
What was begun by acts like “Cocteau Twins” was popularised by later bands like “Goldfrapp” and singers like Beth Orton (or the bland but popular Dido) has evolved into a rich vein these days. Bands like “Florence and the Machine”, Ellie Goulding and “Little Boots” have helped to create a plethora of female vocalists backed by folk / electronic music.
Lettie is one of the newer and less known of this breed. A multi-instrumentalist from London, Lettie has featured at Maida Vale, but has still yet to truly break out. Her new single “Lucky” is a very well chosen attempt to force her way clear of a large pack.
Lettie’s song lacks the soaring vocals of “Florence” or the catchy pop style of “Little Boots” but she has a quirky charm that is feels genuine. Her songs are bright, energetic and based around her inventive lyrics. Her vocal style has a slightly trans-Atlantic feel to it, as if she’s singing for an American audience.
Her breathy style also evokes the legendary Liz Frazer (though the comparisons would need to end there). The music is largely a blend of folk and electronica, with some nice percussive beats woven around piano and acoustic guitar. Her lyrics are sometimes introspective but the tone never veers into Beth Orton style sadness, her songs are much more upbeat than that.
“Lucky” is a fun, off-centre song that features a quirky, low budget video that perfectly captures the feel of the song. Notably Lettie herself doesn’t appear on screen during the video. Some female singers base their whole act on their own sex appeal, often a sensible if commercial ploy, and you have to applaud Lettie for selling her song on its own merits
The song is built around a likable, repeating chorus and it’s a simple progression across the whole song. But its own simplicity is a strength rather than a weakness. Her quirky lyrics and her emotive singing style help establish the songs integrity.
You probably couldn’t position “Lucky” as a dance song but it wouldn’t be out of place in the chillout room of a club or a party. Equally it’d make a nice part of any playlist at the end in the wind-down phase.
If Lettie’s other work is as strong as this, then her forthcoming album “Good Fortune, Bad Weather” will just right, just off centre.