Amy Newton has shown she can handle an audience with confidence across the South West. Gaining airplay on Devon radio and an appearance on ITV West Country News has put an extra gloss on her short career. 'Which Hand?' is now her second disc. Recorded in her dad's living room and self-produced Amy intended it to be 'a showcase for my songs and the arrangements and production are simple to show you the tunes naked and bare to give more of an idea of my solo performance'.
The youthful exuberance of her shows has been captured in a spontaneous outpouring of her latest material. The songs tend to fall into two categories. Loosely speaking there are her ballads, sung with strength and her swing numbers all rhythmic and restless. One offsets the other nicely bringing a robustness to the ten originals here.
In the ballad corner we have exposed emotion and barbed comments. As Amy sorts out her true feelings different characters come and go but some of the antagonistic lines could easily be directed inward. A point in question is 'One More Time' which Amy has previously described as 'about addictions and obsessions of one kind or another'. The form of the compulsion(s) remains largely undefined however Amy really uses the outer reaches of her voice to drive points home and she certainly knows how to write a chorus.
Across on the swing side we have edgy chops and wah-wah guitar lines with scattishly rapped vocals. Amy explains - 'the songs take on more of a quirky nature. 'I didn't like you anyway' and 'Dan' sum up more of the nature of this album which is fairly light-hearted in places'. The sound remains spacious here despite the flurries of notes. Musical ideas are bursting out of these songs and a couple of moments stretch the theme a little too far for me but without any harm being done to the album as a whole.
Amy's highly developed and individualistic guitar work and catchy choruses are a heady combination. When she lets her voice fly she can be a match for a number of established modern singer/songwriters. Devon should soon prove to be too small a place for her talents.