Holly Humberstone is quickly becoming the UK’s next biggest breakthrough star. With over 20 million streams on her introductory singles, and even a coveted performance on Jimmy Kimmel, she’s an artist whose trajectory is very exciting to watch in full bloom.
Her debut EP ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ is an impressive collection of heavy emotions intertwined with rhythmic and organic production. With a sound that can be found in-between Maggie Rogers and Sasha Sloan, she really compliments her emotional foundations and brings these raw feelings to the forefront.
Opening with ‘Deep End’, she begins very minimalistic with just a moody guitar riff while her dreamy vocals glide over the top. “I’ll be your medicine if you let me. Give you reason to get out of bed. Sister, I’m trying to hold off the lightning and help you escape from your head” she sings as an ode to her sister that she will always be there to help her through the dark. With the song building cinematically towards the end with some percussive beats, she intimately lays the foundations for the EP.
Title track ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ then leads with a piano instrumentation and quickly builds momentum with a groovy guitar riff and pulsating synths that have this Maggie Rogers inspired energy within its roots. Singing about the insecurities we have in relationships, she explains how they can be quite destructive. “How am I supposed to be your ray of light, your ray of light? I get dark sometimes, does it pass you by? I should be your ray of light, your ray of light” she emotively sings during the pre-chorus.
With that emotively charged energy running in the veins, ‘Overkill’ immediately stands out as one of the EP’s strongest tracks. Mixing that intimacy with the rhythmic and pulsating production, she captivates you with the catchy hook that is all about the fear of being too much, and the fear of saying I love you to someone for the first time.
“Maybe this time I’ll say something, something a little wild out loud. Maybe this time I’ll say something I’ve been feeling for a while out loud” she honestly sings. But it’s the final lyric “Guess I’m over being overkill” that personally hit me right in the feels as I’m always scared of being too much and overthinking every move I make.
With the playful production in full motion, ‘Vanilla’ uses that contrast to give you a reflective break-up moment where she realises they are a little vanilla and lacklustre and are better off apart. “But the truth is, I have my best nights without you” she candidly sings. But instead of making it a slow tender ballad, she experiments with DIY attributes and uses an offbeat pop beat, a garage guitar riff, and distortion to transport you to this different world.
But some tender ballads do rightfully make their way onto the EP. ‘Drop Dead’ begins minimalistic with just a piano accompaniment and then evolves into this cinematic soulful moment that hears her asking someone to stop playing games with her feelings. “Stop messing with my head. Stop playing with my head. One look and I drop dead” she confesses.
And then ‘Livewire’ will just hit you right in the feelings and have you getting teary eyed as she details the end of a relationship and the parting of ways. “Life can’t always be one giant firework display” she acknowledges during the first verse before questioning in the bridge; “Ooh, hope you’re still alive. Hope you’re still a live wire”. Keeping the production minimalistic and raw, she allows the heavy emotions to drive this song and leave you just as raw as the EP opened.
‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ is a brief, intimate and captivating insight into Holly Humberstone’s artistry. Emotionally charged, these songs are relatable and therapeutic to listen to while her dreamy vocals pull you in, and the lyrics hit you right in the feels. This EP proves that she really may just be the next big breakthrough star that you’re going to hear more and more about over the next couple of months.