Album Review: Kelly Oliver – Botany Bay

Botany Bay is the latest release from the young Hertfordshire-based artist Kelly Oliver. Over the last four years Oliver has been gradually plying her craft the length and breadth of the country, honing her skills and carefully crafting her own unique talent. The result of this down the line in 2018 is an exemplary album that fuses together an abundance of influences from throughout the ages of folk.

With a charming score boasting guitars and banjos as her central piece, Oliver carefully drops in influences from country, indie and even a healthy dose of pop music. The result is a strange concoction that yields the likes of songs such as the title track Botany Bay – a truly mesmerising track that paints a vivid landscape with its bold and resonant folk roots; draped in dancing banjo tunes, earnest pipes and a soaring collection of fiddles. It gradually combines with Oliver’s crystalline voice and subtle traces of indie music which overlay it and result in a song that brings ancient folk to life and breathes fresh new life into these rich and contemporary songs. Despite her Hertfordshire heritage there seems to be a warming, almost Celtic influence within her work that lends her work a timeless quality.

Kelly Oliver – Botany Bay (Trad)

As a singer and songwriter, Oliver has a delicate touch and deeply evocative style to her writing, bringing songs to life that seem as though they are steeped in the folk of times gone by. Her earnest and charming tales are brought to life with such a vivid grace and beauty as to shimmer to life before your eyes. Bursting to life with one of the most honeyed and electrifying vocals around her smooth and soulful voice seems to echo out across her work like the pipes that accompany her. Gliding like the breeze Oliver’s voice seems to slip in and out of your consciousness without ever overpowering her carefully crafted music. With an undeniable depth to her work, Oliver seems to have an unbridled passion that she is able to evoke at any given time. Whilst never reaching the heights of raucous there are moments in her tender album in which her overwhelming affection shines through as brightly as the sun.

Oliver has taken time and crafted Botany Bay as her greatest work to date. It seems as though the album gently drifts across the strands of time with her work firmly tethered in the roots of the folk genre but gently sliding into a contemporary nature. This is unarguably beautiful album that belies expectations. It is rich with subtle inflections that could change the way that people think about folk music.

Review by Joe Knipe

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Kelly will showcase the album on a 16 date UK Tour

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