Single Review: 'Better' by Holly Rees (Live)
So music and the word “better” have an interesting history; ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by D:Ream, ‘Harder, Better, Faster Stronger’ by Daft Punk, ‘Getting Better’ by The Beatles and now… ‘Better’ by Holly Rees.
The latter should be well known to those who follow the North East's music scene at all, and is my favourite moment from Holly’s debut EP ‘ILEX’ released in 2017. Seriously, I have had it on loop and on playlists since I heard it in the beginning of last year.
I was late to the Holly Rees hype but was really on board for the launch of her second EP ‘Slow Down’ and the subsequent single ‘Stick Around’.
However much to my shame I have never seen her live so was very much on board to hear that her final show before going off to explore Canada (Hello Holly if you are reading this, hopefully a moose hasn’t eaten you), was recorded for our listening pleasure.
It was to be a very special show as it was her first with a live band, The Breakfast Club. I assume the name chosen because they all ate breakfast together before rehearsals or… just a reference to that movie Simple Minds recorded that song for…
The show sold out and it’s great to have an audio document of this special evening, the first snippet of which being ‘Better’.
Instantly we get a fresh take on the original, going from a deeply personal solo performance on the EP to it's new life as a power pop record in the vain of Durham’s own Martha or more internationally Courtney Barnett.
It features one of my favourite lyrics from the Holly Rees Songbook (a debut album title, Holly?) which is:
"Thought I would be better equipped, by twenty four”
This is because, as a twenty four year old myself, I have no idea how I got here or how I am doing what I am doing. So it’s nice that it’s not just me who has these feelings.
The live sound is evident but doesn’t detract from a band clearly having great fun on stage, such as when Holly counts the band in and the rapturous applause at the end, it just sounds big!
The new arrangement is fantastic and compliments the song, never working against it.
Rhys’ thundering drumming, Ryan’s solid and steady bass work throughout and the delightful bright keys from Oliva basically make this my new default version of ‘Better’ to listen to. Who thought ‘Better’ could get better ‘ey?
Holly is currently funding an adventure to play Canadian Music Week festival in Toronto so if you like the sound of her music from my review, or have actually used your own ears to listen to and love it, or you are just the sweetest dear who wants to donate to a really awesome person for nothing other than the chance to put a smile on someones face follow the link here: