EP Review: Devil Is Doubt // Natalie Bouloudis
Since the tender age of 7, UK-based singer-songwriter Natalie Bouloudis has been writing and playing music. In the beginning, she performed at notable venues across London under the pseudonym Aurora Harbinger. While Aurora Harbinger was soon succeeded by Natalie Bouloudis (her real name), Natalie already had a reputation for moving melodies and a strong following. Featured in Born Music, Clash, The Other Side Reviews and Raw Ramp Mag, as well as supporting Florence + The Machine at the London Festival of Architecture in 2017, Natalie is reaching people on an international level. The latest addition to her critically acclaimed discography is the EP Devil Is Doubt.
Following her well-received single ‘Coal’ (which is included in Devil Is Doubt), Devil Is Doubt is an innovative and evocative six-track album. Working with Forbes Coleman, Ed Deegan and Nik Kozub, the self-produced EP showcases Natalie’s genre-defying innovativeness and eclecticism. Melding elements of jazz, pop and indie-rock with a contemporary edge, Devil Is Doubt is a kaleidoscopic swirl of sound.
Reminiscent of Paloma Faith and Florence Welch, Natalie’s soaring vocals add darkness to the intriguing EP. In the vein of Amanda Palmer, although not as rushed, Devil Is Doubt has an intimacy forcing you to pay attention to the fragility of the music. Touching on issues of anxiety, isolation and defiance, the single finds the delicate balance between heartbreaking vulnerability and heady empowerment.
What I find particularly intriguing about the record is the arrangement of tracks. Moving from ‘Outlaster’ to ‘Devil Is Doubt’ and ‘How Many Winters?’ Natalie takes you through a soulful tunnel depicting successive experiences in her journey to acceptance. Pulsating drums denote the defiance of the protagonist throughout, while the violin adds a haunting quality penetrating your soul. Yet, it is Natalie’s vocals that dominate the EP with a sensual slick and sticking sentimentality.
So, what about the tracks themselves? Devil Is Doubt begins with the heavier ‘Outlaster’ and ‘Vice Versa’ promoting an unsettled rage with the crescendos; however, there is a dip into calmer waters with the pop-influenced ‘Expand’. Thing is, while one slips into a soothing melody, ‘Devil Is Doubt’ brings an almost ethereal quality with haunting lyricism and enchanting violin. Finally, ‘Coal’ and ‘How Many Winters?’ bring an uplifting close to Devil Is Doubt with a cascade of harmonic sound.
A heady album to say the least, but definitely worth a listen. Sensual and provocative, it will seep into your brain, reverberate down your spine and leave you gasping for air.