REVIEW: Jealous Of The Birds releases stunning new EP 'Wisdom Teeth'
Every so often a music release comes along that feels so right, it wraps itself around your soul like a warm duvet in winter and refuses to let go. Wisdom Teeth, the second EP from Belfast singer-songwriter Jealous Of The Birds (real name Naomi Hamilton) out February 1, is one such release. Warm, intimate and engaging, Hamilton has created a remarkable collection of songs that surpass genre and will find a home in any music lover’s heart.
Hamilton hails from Belfast in Northern Ireland and starting making music during her first year at university in 2015. Quickly realising “finishing my degree became an exercise in persistence, whereas music was an act of joy,” she turned to a full time career in music and released her first single in 2016, the acoustic-folk ‘Goji Berry Sunset’. Further singles followed, with an album Parma Violets in 2016 and her first EP, the delightfully named The Moths of What I Want Will Eat Me In My Sleep was released in 2018. There is a marked progression in Hamilton’s sound on Wisdom Teeth, with a shift from a more guitar indie sound towards a warmer, more soulful sound – yet still paying homage to her musical roots.
First single ‘Marrow’, released last year is probably the best indication of the sonic palette on Wisdom Teeth. Gorgeous, intricate melodies, with an ever-changing structure that never fails to be cohesive, all held together by Hamilton’s rich vocals which flow intimately from the speakers as if they were recorded just for you. It is the kind of song you want to have on repeat.
Hamilton has a special talent for creating music that incorporates elements from various genres whilst retaining a totally unique sound. Second single ‘Blue Eyes’ with it’s driving, guitar-punk base powers along only to unexpectedly throw up quirky new wave references. The sensual ‘Kosiskelu’ – ‘I want the smell of me to cling to your clothes when you walk through the city’ – slowly swings with what is almost a chilled out synth-pop backbeat before introducing touches of jazz and a guitar ballad chorus, while closing track, the gorgeously relaxed ‘Clementina’, merges country with indie. It is perhaps the evocatively named ‘New York Has A Lump In Her Throat’ that is the most creative and interesting track – opening with a xylophone-style chime and a dreamy verse, it progresses into a guitar driven, beat heavy chorus before introducing a spoken word section which channels 1970s avant-garde. It is both a love letter to New York and also to music itself – ‘the same energy that created a symphony by Mozart / is shared by The Beatles making Sgt. Pepper’ Hamilton intones.
Wisdom Teeth is a remarkable and at times surprising collection of music and one in which Hamilton has staked a claim as one of the most talented musicians in the game today. While it is far from commercial, it has been crafted with such expertise, and quite clearly a whole lot of love, that there is something on here to appeal to just about everyone. Highly recommended – plug the headphones in, press play and bliss out.