Country music is finally starting to get support and attention here in the UK and the first wave of homegrown acts are starting to emerge. Thanks to the success of Ward Thomas and The Shires, and the annual C2C: Country to Country Festival, the genre is finding an audience that is hungry for more. One artist making the transition to Country is Clara Bond who has recently released new EP Out of Towners.
With this new four track EP, Bond has followed her influences and some of those happen to be Country. Out of Towners is being labelled Country/pop but quite honestly there’s very little Country about it. Save for a few vocal runs taken from the genre, there’s very little here to suggest that the EP is anything other than pop music.
The EP kicks off with the title track, Out of Towners, and it’s probably the nearest to Country music Bond gets over the course of the four tracks included here. It’s a pleasant radio-friendly ditty but the vocal is a little too stagey for my liking. The enunciation is very precise and places, which is more common on the West End than it is in Country music.
Elsewhere Bond employs a few vocal techniques to sound a little more Country on Tambourine, which is one of the stronger songs on the EP, but it still all comes off a little too contrived. The final two tracks – Love Can’t Stay and Flashbacks – are more adult contemporary pop sitting somewhere between Delta Goodrem and Martine McCutcheon.
Out of Towners is a solid enough EP but for my tastes there’s very little Country about it. This is still pretty much pure pop in my books, even by the poppier standards of US Country music. If Bond truly wants to find success as a UK Country artist she’s gone to have move much further into the genre than what is evidenced across these four songs. This just doesn’t feel authentic and Bond would likely find more success, and natural fit, by returning to her pure pop roots.
Track List: 1. Out of Towners 2. Tambourine 3. Love Can’t Stay 4. Flashbacks Record Label: Clara Bond Release Date: 19th September 2016