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WE REVIEW THE NEW EP FROM TEAH LEWIS – HOLD

Having moved to Sheffield from her native Bristol a few years ago, Teah Lewis (it’s pronounced “Taya”, for those who were wondering) has been on a seemingly unstoppable rise over the last few years. Her eight singles have all been released to steadily growing widespread acclaim, and the time has also seen her perform on the main stage at Tramlines as well as supporting the inimitable Richard Hawley in front of a jam-packed Leadmill.

From the very first opening notes of her new EP “Hold”, the listener is carried away to a dream world and Lewis makes sure to hold them there for the next 16 minutes, taking them away on a little holiday in their own household.

The wistful vocal intro on “Anymore” creeps in and weaves it’s way around the delicate guitar like wisteria on a garden fence, unfurling it’s flowers and climbing vigorously towards the truly heart-wrenching chorus hook;

I’m reaching for him like a ghost limb, and I don’t even want him, anymore”

The beauty of this line can not be underestimated, even though it is beautifully understated, as is Lewis’ way. One of the most important aspects of lyricism is to create relatable feelings for the listener to recognise themselves within, and this line perfectly encapsulates the notion of knowing you don’t want something (or someone) yet feeling helpless to stop yourself from reaching back out to grab it. It could be a partner, an erstwhile family member, a memory or even something more metaphysical such as an addiction…but it’s a feeling that almost everyone can relate to. Lewis manages to not only capture that feeling, but also frame it and hang it perfectly on the wall of the home she builds during “Hold”.

“Building a home, never takes long, when you’re around”

The opening line from “Building A Home” takes a swift jump from the forlorn remembrance of the opening track and switches tack to focusing on hopes and aspirations for the future. Lewis uses a delightfully chosen assortment of chromatic metaphors and references to smoothly and serenely link the concept of building a home with somebody, to painting the walls with colours that reflect the joy that can be found amongst “The Great Mundane” nature of everyday life.

Citing the budding relationship of two close friends as an inspiration, “Building A Home” effortlessly describes the excitement, wonder and magic of moving into the first shared abode with a partner, and leaves the listener either longing for something they miss, crave or treasure. Lewis also cleverly namedrops the popular Sheffield Instagram account “Colours of Sheffield”, a project run by local artist Mary Tear wherein they match famous vistas within the city against pantone colour cards…the page is well worth a visit!

The arrangement on the track builds warmly and surely to a refrain that blooms in to colour thanks in part to the sumptuous trumpet, played by long-time collaborator Emily Compton. The song feels like a spring, following the wintery aesthetic of “Anymore”, before the EP fully flowers into “Hold”, the title track of the EP.

“I don’t know why you’d say these things this time of night”

We’ve all been there, late at night, waiting to fall asleep when the demons creep in. Lewis describes the duality of wanting to express all of those hidden feelings whilst also feeling nervous, regretful or shameful about doing so. The tenderness with which Lewis speaks to herself is spellbinding, reminding herself (and the listener) that they are more than the worried feelings and thoughts that they express, that everything will be new tomorrow and that after all, we’re all only human.

The crowning glory on the EP for this listener is the autumnal “Fall”, a gorgeously textured patchwork of sound co-written with Matt Richens & Ben Allen (of Life Aquatic Band). Taking a slight detour from Lewis’ usually folky sound, the track features waves of sweeping synth tones and bubbling arpeggios, stitched together to create a tapestry reminiscent of fading sunshine, falling leaves and a plethora of golden hues.

“I’ll never come down”

With the way that Teah Lewis is climbing, there is little to suggest that she will.

THE RGM PODCAST