Glasgow-based singer-songwriter returns with a dreamy second solo record
The transience of sleep and reverie is ever-present in Carla J. Easton's second solo record, Impossible Stuff. Her drawling vocals sprawl across each song, from opener 'Dreamers on the Run' to closer 'Lullaby', mixing languor and optimism into a special kind of dream-pop.
The titular 'Impossible Stuff' embraces this somnolence as Easton, with her heart on her sleeve, details the futile things she'd like to do, backed by dreamy strings that turn into a joyous explosion of Arcade Fire proportions, thanks to producer Howard Bilerman whose shimmering touch elevated AF's Funeral to a similar landmark status.
Impossible Stuff embarks on a journey through influences that span decades and genres. On 'Meet Me in Paris', Easton's voice interweaves with doodling sitar in an homage to late-60s Indian melody experimentalism. 'Girl from Before' takes on a Phil Spectorish feel, with doo-wop instrumentation evoking the spirit of soul, while shades of Strawberry Switchblade come through on 'Lights in the Dark' and 'Vagabond'. Eighties bleeps and tinny drumtracks encourage dancing; elsewhere, lazy brass heft is for coffee and smoking.
It makes sense that Easton would sprinkle her work with such a range of genres, given her involvement in the Since Yesterday project – a documentary made in conjunction with filmmaker Blair Young charting the history of female Scottish bands, resulting in a gig paying tribute to them during this year's EIF. Easton doesn't borrow too hard, and leaves derivation in the dust, simply upholding slivers of her musical heritage and branding them with her own stamp. Impossible Stuff is a wander in a direction that should see Easton take her place among the trailblazers that have come before her.
Impossible Stuff is out Fri 5 Oct on Olive Grove Records.