After the replay button on Rage Against the Machine’s discography no longer embraces your internal, well, rage quite like it used to and the thought of broodily glancing out of rain speckled bus windows whilst Bleeding Love caresses your pondering ear holes makes you squirm, look no further than Annabel Allum.
An unshakeable force of raw honesty, the singer songwriter takes a firm grasp of the everyday frustrations millennials face from a perspective that isn’t riddled with narcissism, with a fire in her belly that burns the stench of reeking vengeance. As they say, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Guildford’s answer to Courtney Barnett, Annabel’s 2017 debut ‘All That For What’ was a punk-folk outburst of emotion, cementing her identity with her unique brand of chaotic storytelling that explores feeling uncertain and out of touch with reality. Following on from the success, this year’s offering comes in the form of ‘Sorry I’m Not Perceptible’, a four track wonder that details her growth as not only an artist, but as a human being too.
Drenched in her brilliantly dry sarcasm, the EP tiptoes through a trail of longing, frustration, doubt and carelessness. Picking gently at wounds that are yet to scab over, the songs encompass the fear that we all obtain of being self analytical and realising our past mistakes.
Speaking upon her flair for the ordinary, she comments: “I’m an army kid. Maybe that’s why I can’t keep still. I’ve always got to be doing something, working on something, completing the next mission. I inspire to tell stories honestly. I want to make people feel something when they hear my music. That’s really valuable to me because then I know it’s real. I don’t mind if it’s positive or negative, just something.”
“There are too many fairytale records out at the moment. Songs about falling in love and going to parties and everything is perfect. But that’s not real life, is it? It’s just a distraction from it. We’ve got enough distractions from reality in our media, I’m not gonna make another one. So, I’m inspired to tell the truth, I’m inspired to make a difference, I'm inspired to create a safe space, and I’m inspired to do it right.”
A track synonymous with high heels slung over your shoulder haplessly as if they were a tea towel and twig gift wrapped with your only belongings, ‘Beat the Birds’ is a theme song for the formidable Walk Of Shame (capitalisation necessary). Anecdotal and enticing, Annabel’s drawling vocals of “it’s just another morning” reflects the self-deprecative mindset of shuffling past fully functioning 9-5 robots clad in suit and tie, who have the meagre sense of purpose that is lost on yourself.
She easily shifts her temperament in ‘Em(ily)’, yearning for an ex-lover and unveiling a softer side to her tough exterior. Allowing the desperation in her vocals to peek through, it shows not only Annabel’s vulnerability, but also her talent to shapeshift into the complexity of emotion with ease. Concluding with RASCAL, the intricate riffs and scuzzier rhythm compared to previous tracks lie as a safety blanket for the doting lyricism, cuddling each word in perfect harmony.
“I’m just a rascal of a woman, I seem to play with people hearts”, she sings with masked pain, only highlighting further her truthful approach to making music others can shamelessly resonate with. Speaking of the EP, Annabel quotes: “The EP reflects the individuality that everyone has inside of them, and each song is so different. However the connection they each have is that they all link to a different time in my life where I’ve wanted to put pen to paper and share my experiences whether they are good or bad. They are each as important as the song that comes before them.”
“My ethos as an artist is to always be real. To not fit in to a generic stereotype that society thinks an artist should be but to show people that no matter who you are or where you come from if you make music that comes from the soul that’s all that matters.”
With support slots for Beth Ditto, Blaenavon and Nadine Shah already tucked into her belt, Annabel’s gritty, biting and beautifully crafted art has seen her attract the attention of Radio 1 and perform at festivals such as The Great Escape and SXSW. Embarking on a tour and writing more ditties for us to shake our fists at, Annabel is destined to be the big sister we never had; she is a breath of fresh air in a world where everybody needs a Polo mint.
- - -
- - -
Words: Becca Fergus
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.