Broken hearts and fearlessly revealing lyrics connect for their vulnerability and musical embrace alike, as Canada’s Ally Cribb releases her highly anticipated debut EP Unbroken.
Already boasting hundreds of thousands of listeners following the success of her reimagining of Creep, by Radiohead, Ally’s debut EP Unbroken is rightfully raising the bar further still.
Kicking into gear with a quickly energising sense of rising anticipation, Bigger is everything its title implies and then some – an inspiring hit of optimism, overcoming and personal strength.
Ally’s vocals shine in the fast-paced setting of long-form story and verse, and the lyrics feel authentically reflective and deeply moving at the same time. Meanwhile, the uniquely crafted pop soundscape blends qualities of yesteryear and contemporary production, for a sound that reinforces the sentiments of the song with faultless relevance.
As the seven-track project continues, Ally’s songwriting proves a consistent strength and source of realness.
The mood settles down for a piano-led California, but the contrast works its magic well – the softness allowing the intricacies’ of Ally’s voice and her lyrical longing to really stand tall. And once again, things build up beautifully, though it’s subtle here – the scenes of the story, the emotional weight, all needing just a little lift to underline the passion and love at the heart of the writing.
Similar calm and lostness ensues for Leave It Behind, with synths and a breathy delivery of isolated desire and broken heartedness, for an increasingly bright level of uprising – the lyrics and the music, even Ally’s performance, all genuinely united. The song becomes a memorable power ballad of sorts, prompting the mind to wander and the heart to experience a sense of euphoric possibility and wonder.
Shifting gears again, End Of August adopts a folk setting with live strings and another captivating chapter of the Unbroken story. Ally manages to make each of these songs a hit, a highlight, yet also secure an original state of melody and writing, which elevates the otherwise familiar, comforting fusion of eclecticism and accessibility.
From the depths of uncertainty and loss, through the power of the self and the blessings of tomorrow, Unbroken encapsulates it all – the journey of a life, with all of its complexities and gifts.
Love Still Lives Inside raises the mood with gratitude and strength, a touch of sax, equal parts personal anecdotes and relatable vagueness; a fine balance found within great songwriting. The song’s are Ally’s first, but ultimately become the listener’s own.
At the penultimate moment, Ally takes her audience to another scene and story, for an increasingly immersive and impassioned Halifax Time, before the softer folk-pop gem of Thirty Minutes wraps things up with a choir-like degree of enchanting vocal play and dreamy aspirations.
Wonderfully crafted, in short. Unbroken achieves a state of being that appears as timeless pop with an alternative, interesting edge of independent artistry and expression. A pleasure to escape into for a while.