Following a string of press acclaim, Derbyshire-born but London-based singer and songwriter Sophie Kilburn new EP Not Bitter, Just Bored , 5 tracks which bring together elements of classic rock and electronic pop to create a strikingly unique sound.
The EPs opener “Afterthought’ opens with a strummed acoustic, a chorus soaked lead guitar riff, underpinned by a shuffling filtered beat, instantly capturing an essence of 90s pop-rock, instantly comparable to Alanis Morissette. Kilburn’s commanding, effortlessly emotive lead vocal takes centre stage, pulling the track forward with the ear-worm vocal line. Introducing splashes of synth in the chorus, the track first showcases Sophie’s unique indie-rock-come-electronic-pop blend with great effect, a sound pallet which is carried across the following tracks.
Track 2, ‘20%’ is a joy and for me, the EP’s highlight. An excellent example of Kilburn’s ability as a writer and performer: Biting lyricism, urgent vocal delivery and a tight soundscape of rocky guitars and subtle synth lines, it feels almost like an 80s rock tune but with subtle twists which gently lean it to a more modern realm.
Like Pretenders mixed with a splash of Stevie Nicks for good measure, ‘20%’ is effortless catchy, strikingly honest and emotive as Kilburn takes down an ex with witty remarks and a chorus that already feels like a stadium is singing it back at her. It’s an excellent track that doesn’t try too hard, just delivers a striking head nodding tune with an effortlessly catchy melody, all with an effortlessly cool, ‘rock chick’ appeal.
Elsewhere on the EP, ‘Hating on a Heartache’ leans further towards the synth side of Sophies sound, built around a pulsing arpeggiator and 808 drum sounds with Sophie’s raspy, slightly gravelling lead vocals soaring. It’s an excellent alt-pop track which unexpectedly, beautifully breaks up the rockier tracks which precede it.
Acoustic ballad ‘After the end’ offers yet another, more reflective dimension to her writing while ‘Love Condition’ closes the EP on the unique, classic-80s-rock-come-electornic-pop that is synonymous with Killburn.
5 tracks which showcase what a brilliant vintage tinged sound Kilburn possesses and what a talented songwriter she is, Not Bitter, Just Bored is brilliant. It does exactly what it needs to, not going overboard with outlandish musical breaks or interludes, it’s tight, meaningful, honest songwriting over interesting, genre bending soundscapes but as well as that, it’s also fun and warningly familiar sounding, like hearing Rumours or on of Pretenders tracks for the first time but with a fresh, modern twist. I want to go and see Sophie live after listening to this EP, and if that’s not a mark of a good selection of tracks, I’m not sure what is.