Album: Katy J Pearson – Return review

by Dave Bertram

Thirty years in, and Heavenly Recordings are still unearthing the best in new music, as Return throws indie pop punches, while shining bright in stripped-back, introspective moments

Bristol’s Katy J Pearson has stomached her major label heart ache and delivered a tidily wrapped ten-track debut, exploring the ups and downs of the 20-something adventure through the guise of indie pop with a sprinkling of soul and country.

Despite lacking the edge of a Lykke Li, Lorde or Cat Power, she delivers a charming and intimate record that combines all the core elements of indie pop you’d expect – oscillating from the radio-friendly single to quiet moments of introspection. The radio-friendly Take Back the Radio and Fix Me Up are up to their eyeballs in hooks and melodies, while Waiting for the Day, and the more rhythmic Tonight and Beautiful Soul, channel her country rock influences and are more arresting as a result.

The consequence is a delivery that evokes Kate Bush with tinges of Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift to boot, which perhaps resonates most on album highlight and namesake, Return – a sombre, acoustic and string-led ballad, which alone should be enough to convince you to give this record a spin. It is not a coincidence that Return lands in the same week as Robin Turner’s new book, Believe In Magic: 30 years of Heavenly Recordings, as the release sees the label continuing in the same vein that they have for the last three decades.

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