We were first introduced to the spunky British songbird Elli Ingram when she spiced up Kendrick Lamar's Janet-sampled love note "Poetic Justice" and pulled off a swoon-worthy Watch The Throne medley (below). While critics have compared her to another, young, British, vocalista with a boatload of Grammys, Elli separates herself by infusing bass-bumping jazz with come-hither R&B and heavy hip-hop influences, even slipping in an F-bomb or two. Now, with the release of her Sober EP, the spotlight is hers for the taking.
Things instantly get hazy, though, when the six-track offering begins. The opening track, which carries the project's namesake, dims the lights in slow-motion as she fades into her self-made abyss. Elli's early tap-out goes down smoother than Ciroc but serves as the delicious pre-game shot before the sangria of sweet harmonies and lyrical veritas takes over. The topsy turvy "Mad Love" follows through with the ballsy bullseye before Elli forwards the ambivalent drunk text to the object of her desires on "Elliot."
Midway through the set, "High Love" rings in emo half-hour. While the Noah Shebib-esque beat almost beckons an MC's presence, Elli strokes all the right notes solo. She proceeds to bare her soul on wax with the piano-backed "Fun," searching for truth on the beach in her hungover state and making Drizzy's "Marvin's Room" sound like confessions of a high school soap star. "We were so faded and I still taste it/I know I'm not the only one/And we were dancing in the rain/So free, no shame/I wanna feel that way again/So bring the bottles down and we can take the town again," she croons. For her final act, she infects with the catchy K-Dot cover, leaving you more parched than satisfied.
But that's the point. Finding regurgitated versions of Rihanna "Pour It Up" on this opus, you will not. There is no provocative pretenses or skimpy ensembles (she's pretty covered up as seen in her covers) but rather, a heart-tugging vulnerability that fits her innocent yet explicit catalog. She paints a wide-ranging emotional palette (while maybe under the influence) that doesn't sound like an introductory EP. Just like that UK Brit sensation who shall not be named, this girl can sang well beyond her years.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)
Listen to Elli Ingram's Sober EP below