Laura Stevenson, a singer-songwriter with a heavy folk influence, is back with her fourth full length studio album, Cocksure, accompanied by her ever faithful band. Stevenson was raised on music thanks to her composer grandfather Harry Simeone, and she took this passion and ran with it once she left home and moved for university. As she started playing around with melodies and writing songs, she befriended many in the music scene, jumping from and to a few bands, before she started playing on her own in 2005.
Stevenson’s past three records have had a very consistent folksy sound, sometimes even venturing towards country, with Stevenson’s whimsical and effortless vocals. Cocksure starts off very similarly with Out With A Whimper, but as the songs go on, it is evident that she’s gone in a very different direction with this album.
Torch Song and Emily in Half have really strong pop elements, with bright vocals and easy guitar structures. However Stevenson has a way of making them sound much more profound than your usual top 40 hit. They’re light and fun, but they also find a way to crawl into your soul right when you need them to.
Happier etc. is a masterpiece in its utter refusal to make any sense. It has a happy title, but the tones heard throughout are very dark. The guitar is muddy, the drums are heavy and yet the vocals are so airy and sweet. To top it off, towards the end, what sounds like a xylophone enters and just plays a few happy notes before the song ends in a crash. It is really peculiar, because it’s sort of like a motivational break-up song, with a message to be your own saviour tangled up in the chaos.
Cocksure has some really strong moments, like the honest and harsh Jellyfish, the peacefully pleasant Diet Of Worms and the surprisingly explosive final track Tom Sawyer/You Know Where To Find Me. It’s clear early on that Laura Stevenson is trying something a little new, and although it doesn’t work with every song, Cocksure has some definite hits.