NEW ALBUM: L DEVINE | NEAR LIFE EXPERIENCE PART ONE (EP)
English singer and songwriter Olivia Rebecca Devine is known as L Devine, has released her new EP ‘Near Life Experience: Part 1, where she explored all the corners of pop – a bold and arguably tricky endeavour. Instead of honing one sound, the Newcastle artist’s latest EP deliberately plays like a collection of distinctive singles rather than a cohesive body of work. She covers a lot of ground in the process, shifting from the deft nu-disco favoured by the likes of Dua Lipa, Shura, and Jessie Ware (most evident on the pulsating ‘Naked Alone’) to ‘Off the Grid’s gleaming (if slightly predictable) reggaeton-lite beats. Though L Devine’s voice shines clearly in certain lyrical moments – "Girls Like Sex" expertly takes precise aim at lazy heteronormative narratives – she treads less in the way of new musical ground. Sometimes ‘Near Life Experience: Part 1’ can feel like a protracted game of ‘guess the influence’ – ’Wish That You Saw Me,’ for instance, sounds so uncannily like a Tove Lo B-side that the thought soon becomes impossible to escape. L Devine’s wit collides with her obvious and forensic knowledge of contemporary pop music, and she’s a force to be reckoned with. Ultimately, ‘Near Life Experience: Part 1’ serves up enough immediate earworms that it’s easy enough to forgive the odd derivative lull.