How is it possible to describe an EP that includes dirty guitars sitting peacefully beside a cover of The Crystals’ ‘And Then He Kissed Me’? Perhaps it’s best to let Dimbleby & Capper, aka Laura Bettinson, describe it herself. When talking to Fame Magazine, she described her brand of music as “bass and beat heavy pop-beast with tribal and electronic limbs”. It’s a fitting description: the beast that is D&C has arrived, and on this collection of singles and exclusive tracks it has arrived in style.
It all kicks off with the slightly menacing ‘Let You Go.’ Beginning only with Bettinson’s sultry vocals and a scratchy, almost industrial synth, it becomes a platform for showcasing what D&C do best: brilliant rhythm, catchy pop sensibilities and some pounding basslines. ‘Raise It Right’ pulls off a modern twist on the classic loud-quiet-loud structure by loading its verses with scratchy keys, a classic guitar riff and Bettinson’s majestic voice which becomes eerily hushed in the quietly disconcerting chorus.
‘Black Smoke/ Burning House’ is stripped back and relies on the power of Bettinson’s voice to power it through the verses, where the melody sounds like an outtake from Beck’s LP ‘Modern Guilt’. While it is the most conventional and accessible track on the EP – you’ll spot the similarities to numerous artists when listening to it – it also manages to be one of the best. Perhaps it is the fact that ‘Black Smoke/ Burning House’, as well as the more synth-pop influenced ‘Slick Maturity’, show that Bettinson refuses to be pigeonholed and shows that she can play the role of indie-popstrel just as easily as the dark, brooding songstress. Her cover of ‘And Then He Kissed Me’ acts almost as a poke in the eye for anyone who thought she would just stick to what she knew best: the fact is that the cover is as upbeat and up-tempo as the original while still managing to retain D&C’s unique sound intact. Theoretically it should be a misguided move, but it works, even sitting against the blissfully melancholy closer ‘Fort Song.’
Calling this an EP is perhaps stretching the boundaries of what an EP is – instead of an infuriatingly short taster of what D&C can do we’re treated to 25 whole minutes of pop, electro and even Kills-esque blues. What Bettinson has done on this sterling effort is to show us what she is capable of while still maintaining some intrigue as to what a full LP holds in the future. ‘Choose Your Head’ is both mysterious and charming in equal measure; it is not too challenging but never patronizes, and the stylistic curveballs it contains keeps the lovely notion that D&C could be capable of anything alive. Will there be a better debut EP this year? You might be struggling to find one.
This article appears in Freedom Spark Online.