And Then There Was One – Collected – Singles/Demo Review
Solo artist Stevie Caldwell has got herself something quite interesting happening here through these latest singles she’s put out through her new project, And Then There Was One. With a range of sounds and a diverse versatility in her songs, these new collected singles we’ve gathered are certainly an indication of something great brewing up in Boston; Stevie has put out an exceptional song-writing effort here on these singles and demos…and I know I’ll be looking for the finished product when that album comes out already.
From the opening cut that we stumbled upon…”Good Enough For Me,” I could instantly feel that shiver down the spine created by a haunting texture in the atmosphere Stevie was creating. It’s a fantastic set of melodic guitars & vocal melodies that come drifting in and out of the music, and a subtle vibe overall that largely relies on the perfection she achieved. It’s spread-out, sparse in sounds really other than the voice, guitars and subtle percussion; but already from this beginning experience into Stevie’s sound you’d be apt to ask yourself what more you feel you might need. It’s all here and “Good Enough For Me” certainly makes a sparkling first impression.
“Indelible You” makes an interesting case for itself with immediate up-front energy and solid hooks that sink in quick. Overall, And Then There Was One is based in rock-music at the end of the day, or at least that’s my understanding of the backbone driving Stevie’s intentions in this project. She’s done well her with “Indelible You;” the main riff is crunchy as fuck and dripping pure awesome. In some ways – I want a little more rock from the vocals to go with the energy of this song, and largely that chaos is traded for control and tone, for which you definitely can’t fault Stevie for wanting. Absolutely love the guitar solo in this song and the way it’s almost set behind the mix as opposed to screaming up front and the collapse back into the main hook let’s her rip out some improvised vocalizations that bring up the energy a little bit…but I’m still wanting a bit of a rasp or an edge here to go with it. Might just be me.
In this third single we’re reviewing here from And Then There Was On, we’ve got “Mirror,” a demo cut with strong potential for Stevie in her push to break through to new creative levels of her own craft. There are some really excellent things happening here…particularly in the vocal department here – her instincts and choices are top-freakin-notch and there’s an element of a real performer here on this song. With dramatic, theatrical and ambitiously written parts, she’s put forth some excellent ideas here that some quick refinement will certainly perfect. A melancholy pulse that beats with a stop/start slow-intensity; this song almost has a dangerous & menacing vibe sneaking into it just under its beautiful, melodic surface. The chorus explodes into an echo-chamber…and personally I dig the idea a lot – I think it works, big time.
What I really loved, was the energy, music, vocals, lyrics and performance on “Schoolgirl Crush,” throughout the verse of this demo. I’m not sure that the switches in this particular track are going to work out overall…this one is a little tougher to tell with the mix as is, but again, potential is clearly audible. I thought this song maybe lacked a little energy or enough transformation into the pre-chorus, and then the opening tones of the chorus don’t make for an easy transition at all on a listening ear. I think as they stand, each individual part is fairly strong on its own…I’m just not sure about the combination overall.
But what’s THIS Stevie? After I’ve spent a little time in demo-land, she’s HIDDEN an absolutely incredible gem here towards the end of this wicked handful of new tunes – “So Into You.” I mean…this is a true hit-single is it not people? I know you all agree – how could you not? Stevie’s kicking all the ass on this song here; nothing overcomplicated, just the right amount of everything…which is at her maximum right now as she brings out an insanely catchy riff & vocal-hook. If this song were Mike Tyson, it just gave you the ol’ one-two punch combo, but the only star that remains clearly as you regain your focus is Stevie; she’s nailed it here with a punctuated performance that truly rocks the fuck right out.
And that ain’t all…in fact, I’ve either got my song-list in an incredibly lucky order, or she really has saved the best for last with “So Into You” and “The Girl Who Fell” wrapping up this set of singles in a truly memorable way. “The Girl Who Fell” is a mezmerizing melody that is deeply captivating and highly engaging…this one might remind you of someone in the neighbourhood of Chantal Kreviazuk; it has that rawness & realness to it that can’t be faked – Stevie is really feeling this song and you can hear her confidence rise to realize the full potential of this fantastically written final cut. Gorgeous atmosphere, vibrantly dynamic & extremely well-written parts, all put together with flawless performances and delivery…I fail to see what more I could personally ask for in this introduction to And Then There Was One.
She’s certainly gifted, and she’s put out some excellent tunes that really do deserve even more attention than I’m sure they’re already getting. There’s real passion in Stevie’s playing and pursuit of emotionally-layered and fragile melodies, and equal amounts of energy in her up-tempo rock; and through these singles collected, there’s a great balance of everything you’d otherwise have to reach for from a whole bunch of separate artists just to get your daily dose.
The lesson being that you don’t need a whole bunch of clutter, gimmicks or even other people to get the job done right – Stevie’s all the proof you need as she heads out solo. And Then There Was One.
Stream the whole set of new songs from And Then There Was One direct here from Soundcloud:
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