Validates the authentic musician behind the gloss.
Al Fox 2009
The debut album from VV Brown comes with the kind of albatross-round-the-neck pressure normally attached to a high-expectation sophomore effort. Already the subject of relentless tutting and tweeting from hordes of backseat A&R men, and having already been crafted her own pedestal as a style deity by the fashion press before most of them have even heard her sing a note, means there's a sizeable, cynical gaze to contend with. It's somewhat fortunate, then, that Travelling Like The Light boasts a rare kind of head-turning indie-pop magnificence more than capable of both remunerating anxious fans and silencing – if not fully converting – detractors.
The chequered-floor locale of debut track Crying Blood provides a slightly more accurate indication of Travelling Like The Light than the darker, more contemporary riffage of big-money launch single Shark In The Water. That's not to say we're talking a solid album of potato-mashing doo-wop lunacy – rather, Brown's largely-50s influence permeates each track with different approaches and to varying extents, creating an eclectic yet uniform collection of songs.
The Wurlitzer wonderment of Quick Fix and L.O.V.E. impart a refreshing demonstration of a pop simplicity lost on any number of electro-heavy buzz artists, a sentiment further echoed on the endearingly unpretentious Crazy Amazing.
And still, the surprises come thick and fast. Tales of gut-wrenching misery are camouflaged as beaming, uptempo numbers; the titular ballad is stripped back to little more than a temperate heartbeat rhythm; and the aforementioned Crying Blood drops everything for a fleeting burst of 1-up bleepery.
And yet, there's no feeling of any kind of gimmickry in this. Travelling Like The Light, with all its quirks and foibles and cheeky winks, comes over as an honest representation of Brown's form and talent. More than anything else, Travelling Like The Light tears through any hastily-assigned pigeonholes or fashion-focused stigma, and validates the authentic musician behind the gloss.