RELEASE: ‘Moonchild’ / Charlene Soraia

Words by Ed King

The phrase ‘graduated from the BRIT school’ usually sends me running for darkness; hiding from an army of egos ‘including classmates Adele, Jessie J, Katy B…’

Charlene Soraia graduated from the BRIT School, and despite lacking; GCSE Music, a Grime remix, dyed hair or an acronym, she released her debut album – ‘Moonchild’, last year. Although her cover of The Calling’s cliché massacre – ‘Wherever You Will Go’, and its promulgation on a Twinings TV ad, may have helped a bit with the budget.

Moonchild’, released on Peacefrog Records in November 2011, is a 12 (original) track album of ‘alternative folk’. Another fatuous descriptive to add to the list (came across ‘mutant garage’ the other day, quite fond of that one).

It also includes Soraia’s cover of ‘Wherever You Will Go’ as a bonus track; where with just a voice and piano Soraia manages to turn the lyrically inane into something quite beautiful. A trick The Calling missed the first time around.

Featuring many tracks from her previous EPs, ‘Moonchild’ is an expertly produced foray of Folk. Opening with the slow pluck of ‘When We Were Five’, producer Paul Stacey brings just enough background; including excellently placed effects and sax, to support the raw maturity of Soraia’s vocals.

Once the mini wall of sound subsides, it’s over to the straight strum of ‘Daffodils’; a careful reproduction of the eponymous track from Charlene Soraia’s 2008 EP.

Then the melodies of ‘Lightyears’ and ‘Rowing’ give real grounding, highlighting a careful balance of approach that runs concurrent (until the bonus track) throughout the album.

Lyrically, Soraia juggles the astute and the obvious. The acerbically brilliant ‘Bipolar’, parodying the selfish desires of precariously balanced women – ‘I think I’ll have a baby with a man who beats me’, taunts the Salisbury hangover of ‘Meadow Child’ – ‘He’s still a meadow child, one of the sun, I’ll stay in the shadow until he returns’, and other tracks. But it’s always believable. Which helps. And the album’s called ‘Moonchild’, so what did I really expect?

I’m a fan of Folk (not NuFolk, not Alternative Folk, just Folk), singer songwriters and strong female vocals. But I’ll judge them harder than anyone, picking holes as a must to non biased reporting.

So, that being clarified, ‘Moonchild‘ is a remarkable debut. Original, relevant, and perfectly produced (kudos Mr Stacey); maintaining an individuality and voice that deserve their own time and place.

My only concern (fear, necessary counterpoint) is how much material Charlene Soraia actually has. Many tracks on ‘Moonchild’ have been previously released, featuring on EPs since 2008; being CPRed by experienced production. And whilst the album retains Soraia’s stamp as a songwriter, some tracks fall between the cracks of a well polished debut.

Call it picky, call it unsupportive. Call it a back handed compliment. I’ve been listening to ‘Moonchild’ on repeat since I bought it, but it’ll grow old eventually.

For more information on Charlene Soraia, or to purchase a copy of ‘Moonchild’, visit

Charlene Soraia plays The Glee Club on April 15th. For information on this, and other gigs at the venue, visit

PREVIEW: Delilah @ HMV Institute, April 18th


Delilah, aka Paloma Stoecker, comes to the HMV Institute on April 18th. Having previously supported Chase & Status and Maverick Sabre across the UK, this is her first headline tour.

“There’s a lot if preparation that goes into organising a tour,” says Delilah, ‘I’d never really appreciated how much goes into it when it’s ‘your’ show. I’m not scared but very excited, and anxious for everything to run smoothly.” 

Born in Paris, raised in London; Delilah’s strong vocals saw her signed to Atlantic Records when just 17. Now aged 21, she is set to release her debut album – ‘From the Roots Up’, later this year. The album will be out in Summer time,” confirms Delilah, “and I am officially in love with it!”

Delilah’s first EP – ‘Go’, was produced by Keysound Recordings founders, Dusk and Blackdown – aka Balistiq Beats, incorporating the raw Grime signature of the London producers.

Deliah’s second EP – ‘Love You So’, saw her collaborate with Syience; an established American musician/producer who has worked with artists including Beyonce, Cheryl Cole, Jay-Z, John Legend, Mary J Blige and Nelly. ‘Love You So’ also includes the elegant piano/vocal track, ‘Mean to Me’.

But whilst both EPs received positive responses, the full length album has taken longer than expected.

Making this record has been a long and difficult relationship,” admits Delilah, “I’ve had moments of feeling lost and disinterested, but then last year that all changed and everything started to come together”

And after such a cross section of collaborations, including various dance remixes of ‘Go’ and ‘Love You So’, what shape is the final cut taking? “People can expect vulnerability, honesty and a lot of bass from my record.”

Delilah plays the HMV Institute on April 18th. Ed King will be there for the Birmingham Review.

For details on Delilah, and further gigs at the HMV Institute, visit

For more on Delilah, visit

PREVIEW: Charlene Soraia @ The Glee Club, April 15th

Charlene Soraia

‘Alternative folk’ singer, guitarist and doodle queen – Charlene Soraia, returns to The Glee Club on April 15th.

Playing her second headline gig in the city, the 23 year old singer songwriter from London is back touring her debut album – ‘Moonchild’.

Charlene Soraia made her first mainstream splash in 2011, after her cover of The Calling’s love lament – ‘Wherever You Will Go’, was used on a Twinings TV advert.

A stripped back piano acoustic, Soraia’s version reached No3 in the UK Singles Chart, No2 on the UK Download Chart and pushed the original back into the top 40.

Alumni of the BRIT School, Charlene Soraia signed to Peacefrog Recordings in 2011 – the London based Independent that represents a cross section of folk and electronica; including Nouvelle Vauge, Jose Gonzalez, Luke Slater and Moodymann. A self taught guitarist, Soraia won a scholarship to the prestigious pop breeding ground without the required academia.

Self releasing her first official EPs in 2008; ‘Daffodils & Other Idylls’ and ‘Postcards from iO’, Charlene Soraia built on her existing portfolio to produce a 13 track debut album – ‘Moonchild’, released on Peacefrog Recording in August 2011.

Songs from Soraia’s earlier releases are featured on ‘Moonchild’, as is her cover of ‘Wherever You May Go’ as a bonus track. ‘Moonchild’ was produced by Paul Spacey, best known for his work with Oasis; as engineer, musician and producer.

Having recently supported Fink across the UK & Ireland, Charlene Soraia was last on The Glee Club stage in February 2011; supporting Fink in the main room and headlining in the Studio room.

‘Due to demand’, The Glee Club invited Soraia back  to  headline in the main room on Sunday April 15th. Ed King will be there for the Birmingham Review.

For more details on Charlene Soraia (and further gigs) at The Glee Club, visit

For more on Charlene Soraia, visit




(Posted 9.4.12) Carlene Soraia – ‘Daffodils’

A video for the version featured on Soraia’s first EP, ‘Daffodils & Other Idylls’.

(Posted 10.4.12) aLTNwVVA5fk

The version from her 2011 debut album, ‘Moonchild’.

REVIEW: Low @ The Glee Club, April 2nd

Low (l-r Mimi Parker, Alan Sparhawk, Steve Garrington)

Words by Ed King

The term ‘Sold Out’ has more than one meaning. But on a bill poster for a Mormon rock band, playing on a Monday night in Birmingham, it’s nothing short of miraculous.

Low – the Minnesota three piece and founders of ‘slowcore’, had packed out The Glee Club with very little shouting. Outstanding. Especially in this city. But as they say, mysterious ways…

(I apologise; kind of sort of, for the God jokes. Low’s lyrics can err towards the presumptuously sacrosanct – “One more thing I’ll ask you, lord, you may need a murderer, someone to do your dirty work.”)

Supported by the frustratingly talented yet timid Lanterns on the Lake; imagine Mogwai meets The Cinematic Orchestra with a blonde Hope Sandoval and no talking, Low came on stage all soft tones and smiles.

But as a heartfelt welcome prompted one woman to shout “we love you”, the blank (non)response from Low’s front man and founder, Alan Sparhawk, let the first tumble weed of the evening roll across the crowd.

Opening with ‘Nothing but Heart’, the penultimate track from their latest studio album – ‘C’mon’ (2011), Low felt immediately stronger on stage than they are in recordings. Jumping from old, to new, to classic; they simply sounded richer.

Additional keys on ‘Silver Rider’ added more weight; whilst the immediate presence of Sparhawk’s vocals on the otherwise tediously produced ‘Try to Sleep’, gave them an understated gravitas live. I began to understand why so many people turned up.

Another colloquial heckle, ‘Hit the drums’ (or maybe, ‘In the Drugs’??), spawned another awkward pause, before three new album tracks played back to back; ‘Witches’, ‘Nightingale’ and the beautifully delivered ‘Especially You’ – Mimi Parker’s vocal lead a definite on stage improvement.

Low felt confident and proficient, yet detached from an audience in obvious support. A distance opened up between the crowd and the stage, and a few people started to leave; albeit quietly and politely.

Stopping Ms AN and Mr RC (names hidden to protect the candid) as they shuffled down the stairs, I was told “they’re just not very exciting” by her and “if it was the first band we’d stay” by him. Both sentiments I found hard to contest.

Ironically, Sparhawk soon regained animation, joking with the crowd; “I hope the bar brakes even,” whilst warning us, “you can move if you want to, don’t get bed sores”. But as the remainder of the set crawled into an uncomfortable encore, which finished to a relieved but believable applause, it never felt like we were fully let in. A shame and a waste in a room full of people.

I still can’t believe how Low so confidently ‘Sold Out’ – let’s run through it again; Mormon, rock, Birmingham, Monday.

And whilst I personally won’t be clamouring for tickets to see them again (…I don’t think they’ll miss me), I also can’t accuse them of the more pejorative descriptive.

For more info on Low visit

For more info on further gigs at The Glee Club, visit

Ed’s… Highlights, Apr ’12

In the most chocolaty of months, research has been made, the sweetest place to be is The Glee. Club. Honestly, save yourself some time. Just reserve a chair and stay put.

Kicking off are Minnesota ‘slowcore’ trio Low (2nd Apr), a term both hated and aptly descriptive, followed a week later by one of the Felice brothers, Simone, fronting his cunningly titled solo project – The Simone Felice Group (9th Apr).

Just enough time to shower, shit, shave, and it’s The Futureheads (10th Apr); in Brum on their A Cappella and Acoustic Tour. Another clue in the title.

Then the welcome return of Charlene Soraia (Apr 15th); one woman, one stage, one guitar, no talking, before local… erm… well known man, Simon Fowler (Apr 17th), comes back to Brum on his tod. Wonder what he’s up to these days? There’s a very misleading blog out there…

A week later and there’s Jazz all over The Glee Club, festive, in the shape of the Kyle Eastwood Band (24th Apr) – playing the first date of their European tour.

Then the truly excellent Karima Francis (26th Apr) comes to town, showing us what happens if you clone Joan Armatrading, Toni Braxton and the Cat from Red Dwarf. If you do nothing else this month, Google her name. Also worth a look are The Staves (Apr 29th), an acoustic vocal harmony trio from Watford **WARNING – May contain Folk**.

Elsewhere, the HMV Institute has Emeli Sande (14th Apr), and one of my most pleasant surprises, Delilah (18th Apr). Two excellently produced artists but let’s see how they translate on stage.

And if you’re not too tired after Googling Karima Francis, job one for the month, visit I’ll make it worth your while (and by ‘I’, I mean ‘they’. Free downloads).

Others to look out for; Lotte Mullen – supporting Ben Montague (O2 Academy / 10th Apr), Sham 69 (BBallroom / 14th Apr), Ellen & The Escapades (Hare & Hounds / 19th Apr), Tony Christie (Town Hall / 23rd Apr) and New Order (BBallroom / 29th Apr).

And seeing as this month hosts both April Fool’s Day and Friday the 13th, the LG Arena present NKOTBSB (27th Apr) – the bastard hybrid of New Kids On The Block and The Backseat Boys. Now all we need is a cross, a cave and a really big boulder.

You can follow Ed King at