"Firelogic" - the debut album by Viv Youell

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Firelogic Album Review - December 2006

"As a songwriter Viv Youell has many virtues, but it's a certain enigmatic otherness that makes her more worthy a proposition than any award ceremony contestant. Her songwriting is full of emotional quirks and poetic innovations, and from the opening acoustic guitar strains of Smile, Firelogic fires unceasingly towards the stars.

In the critic's handbook, "epic" can be a dubious term and reference-points are a man's best friend, but in both cases here conventions are defied. Youell excels in trapping emotional intensity and pouring it out in shimmering, labyrinthine acoustic guitar numbers, in doing so naturally pushing the borders of taste and tempting one to confess all manner of sins.

Many people were big fans of Belinda Carlisle, and Youell's voice, all fervent emotion and piquant tremolo, evokes Carlisle in what would have been her ideal context, minus the balladry-by-numbers. Meanwhile, an electric guitar solo in Love in the Afternoon momentarily sounds like Clapton has got himself a credit, before it shoots off on timely, glimmering pop tangents.

Firelogic teems with songwriting innovations expressed in their humblest forms, and the spoken word poem at the end of Pebbles [Hearts and Arrows] along with the fairytale poignancy of Catherine comes from the deepest reaches of Youell's soul, but further zeniths are reached when the songs are left to open out all the way like petals in the sun.

Hearts and Arrows and Love in the Afternoon are soundtracks to the best summers you ever had, working their ways off gentle acoustic riffs into underplayed refrains and coming together like the greatest pop should, effortless and romantic, and Still Waters, with its sparkling, reflective shimmer, twists and wraps itself around you with the kind of warmth that defines Youell as something special..."

(Neil Jones, MusicOMH.com)

Firelogic Album Review - August 2006

"As another upcoming female singer songwriter on the music scene, Viv Youell has much to do to distinguish herself from the ever increasing number of similar sounding performers out there right now. Fortunately in debut album FIRELOGIC, she's off to a classy and mature sounding start; a record that showcases her stripped back folk to dazzling effect.

Singing in a tender croon that sits somewhere between traditional folk and something a little more contemporary, Viv Youell fits somewhere between Kirsty MacColl, Eliza Carty and Kristen Hersh: a warm tone that suits the songs she sings here perfectly...

FIRELOGIC opens with the acoustic folk of SMILE, Youell stretching her vocals to almost yodel over the simple guitar chords: guitarist and songwriter Richard Murray adding texture to the songs bare essentials. THE FISHERMAN injects a little more energy and attitude to proceedings, a steady drum beat, bluesy guitar stabs and rockier vocals adding volume and colour to things. WE DON'T TOUCH finds Viv Youell coming on like a tortured torch singer, crooning tenderly over a subdued drum patter and harp-like mandolin whilst LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON is a slow burning slice of folk inspired pop that's equal part Throwing Muses, PJ Harvey and Eliza Carty.

The epic HEARTS AND ARROWS is a seven minute folk tune that takes in some moody post-guitar colour, searching vocals and tender drum brushes: Viv Youell really hitting her stride and delivering a heartfelt and aching performance suggesting her star potential. THE WAY IT IS takes brief side steps into reggae, calypso and blues, though still maintaining that swooning folk presence; STILL WATERS meanwhile just goes straight for the heartstrings, Viv Youell again delivering a tender, bruised performance that sets her up as a singer songwriter of quite some magnitude. With THE WORLD AROUND, things take a diversion into swooning country territory whilst CATHERINE is a delicate acoustic ballad complemented by hushed vocals and closing number DEAR DARLING a beautiful and majestic climax.

A sublime sounding and gorgeous record, FIRELOGIC finds Viv Youell delivering a debut album well worth investigation. With songs that caress you with a gentle warmness, and a humanity in her performance that suggest Viv Youell could be one of the next major stars to emerge from the UK folk scene, FIRELOGIC is a record that deserves your attention and adoration."

(Mike Bond, UK Music Search)

Live Review - The Secret Garden Party Festival, August 2006

"....Viv Youell is a quieter revolution. Revolting against a power cut as her set gathers momentum, the rare quality of her pop-tinged folk shines like a beacon during some improvised acoustic songs, Youell and another guitarist [Richard Murray] coming closer to the crowd and inviting kids to dance around them as they play numbers of sheer grit and beauty that stalk fine ground between contemporaries Kat Flint an Catherine Feeny."   

(Neil Jones, MusicOMH.com)