Carla J. Easton – Impossible Stuff

Nothing is impossible on Carla J. Easton's debut solo album Impossible Stuff, let's just say it's absolutely brilliant

Album Review by Max Sefton | 01 Oct 2018
Album title: Impossible Stuff
Artist: Carla J. Easton
Label: Olive Grove Records
Release date: 5 Oct

From her work with TeenCanteen to an appearance on Belle & Sebastian’s Best Friend and a star turn on Olive Grove Records’ brilliant 2017 Christmas compilation, Carla J. Easton has been establishing herself as one of the most talented and likeable songwriters in Scotland for some years. Impossible Stuff is her solo debut and it’s a record designed to give the lie to its title. A deft 80s pastiche like Vagabond really can rub up against the Screamadelica-infused Wanting What I Can’t Have or the classic 60s pop of Girl From Before. Nothing is impossible here.

Opening with the brief, longing Dreamers On the Run followed by the peppy Meet Me in Paris, Easton seems to love songs about escape and reinvention, spinning a bouncing melody into pop gold with a Beatles-y bridge. Wanting What I Can’t Have unfolds from a slow-burn trip-hop jam with jazzy drums into a brass-assisted finale in which multiple Eastons roar out the refrain.

Elsewhere there are life-affirming fiddles on the title track and a brief misfire on the speak-sung Never Had the Words but it’s all swept away by the wonderful Milk & Honey, possibly the track of Easton’s career to date, which opens with a nagging All My Friends-esque piano part and builds through looping bass and joyous brass to a soulful finale. Lyrics like 'I’m the sugar in your tea' could so easily be saccharine but Easton has just the right amount of wide-eyed charm to sell them, swept along by an arrangement that climbs and climbs as our heroine realises she really should have said 'I need you.'

Easton’s voice might be an acquired taste for some but it’s expressive and vulnerable, subtly shifting between the yearning electro-pop of Vagabond to soaring over a Spector-esque Wall of Sound on the classic 60s pop arrangement of Girl From Before. It feels strange to call Impossible Stuff a debut record given the number of projects its creator has been involved with. Let’s just say it’s absolutely brilliant.

Listen to: Milk & Honey, Dreamers On the Run