Laura Evans — State Of Mind (Self Released)
I’m Alright insists Laura Evans as she launches headlong into the hotly anticipated State Of Mind.
Talk about seriously underplaying the situation.
Evans is way, way better than ‘alright’ and 11 magical blues rockers more than prove the point.
Back in the summer of 2020, Drag Me Back In first pulled Rushonrock into Evans’ sphere.
That heady mix of rock and soul soundtracked the loneliest of lockdown summers.
And it hinted at something very special to come from the sublime Welsh songstress.
Fast forward two years and State Of Mind reveals a talented performer at the peak of her powers.
Outlaw country and cool Americana fit neatly into Evans’ favoured framework of feisty blues.
And one of the rising stars of the UK’s bullish live scene is never afraid to stretch the boundaries and make the brave move in the search for something unique.
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Josiah J Manning deserves immense credit for identifying Evans’ sweet spot.
Given the electrifying blues bombast at the heart of much of the best material here it would have been easy to misplace the odd vocal highlight.
Manning, however, ensures Evans’ trademark tone is neither overlooked nor undercooked.
In truth, her rootsy and reassuringly rebellious delivery has never sounded better against a backdrop of quite brilliant musicianship.
State Of Mind is a statement of intent.
It’s the realisation of a lifetime’s ambition and the foundation for an illuminating future.
State Of Mind blown
Three songs in and Fire With Fire turns up the heat.
It’s ablaze with the fervour of classic Fleetwood Mac and allows Evans to unleash her inner Stevie Nicks.
Passion and warmth is writ large across the meandering State Of Mind.
The towering title track juxtaposes Music City with the Welsh Valleys to create a seriously addictive soundscape.
Gone, meanwhile, is a brooding beast of a tune but Evans’ darker side suits her well.
Manning, who played every instrument here, never misses a beat.
It’s almost as if the unsung hero of this epic album was on a mission to nail perfection.
If the consistently sharp fretwork is an obvious plus then there’s a constant, unfailing rhythm driving every track here.
Good At Getting Over You reveals Evans’ poppier side and not a moment too soon.
There’s a nu-country, Kacey-esque vibe to this made-for-radio hit in the making.
State Of Mind manages to pack so much into so little time that it takes multiple listens to get a true feel for this adorably adroit album.
Yet take your time to enjoy every expert example of Evans’ rich versatility and that patience will be repaid in spades.
Call 2022’s breakout star what you want.
But this is Evans sent for fans of countryfied blues rock and soul.