State readers who have become increasingly irritated by the seemingly endless stream of -h’ dropping, vowel mangling, accent shifting English indie pop stars will no doubt be viewing the prospect of a debut album from Eliza Doolittle with a fair amount of dread. Yet while Eliza Caird seems to have shown her hand with chosen moniker, her first record suggests that she is certainly more than just another exponent of the foghorn school of vocals. Her progress so far illustrated perfectly the challenges facing a new artist on a major label – touring round with a neat three piece acoustic band, she has also found herself trying to make herself heard over the ringing cash registers at the likes of River Island as well a string of mid-profile support slots.
It could all be enough to sap an artist’s enthusiasm, but Eliza Doolittle is a relentlessly upbeat piece of work. Although it has been magnified in the studio by all sorts of trickery, the quirky bounce of her live work is still very much evident here – giving the record a light, airy feel that very much suits the material. This is pop music pure and simple and, although at times you do begin to yearn for a bit of grit in amongst the sunny sounds. Having fixed on a style, Doolittle shows no desire to divert and the results are a little samey, especially the repeated use of a jaunty whistle.
None of this, though, should suggest that this is anything less than an entertaining listen. Her voice is strong and clear throughout, enhanced by nice touches of soul and folk. The album too is far more than just a case of the two singles plus a bunch of fillers, with each self-penned number scoring highly in the memorability stakes. Yes it’s all very throwaway, especially in the lyric department, but we shouldn’t forget that this is the debut album from a 22 year old. Hopefully with this impressive start and hit singles she will have bought herself enough time to develop herself and her obvious talent. At that point Eliza Doolittle might be worth our undivided attention.