‘Grassroots’ is the debut EP from singer/songwriter Frankie Bird. After receiving acclaim from BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio due to single releases, Bird compiled four tracks for release back on the 25th of August.
An admitted: ‘introspective concept record about moving to London and the challenges of the music industry’, it’s lyrically an intriguing listen as the 23-year-old continues to mould her sound.
‘Background’ gets us underway and a pop-y direction is noticeable. What is immediately clear too, is the clarity of Bird’s voice. Despite some high areas, it does feel though, that with a familiar chord progression and relatively formulaic set up, she is sticking with what she does best. An ear-catching lyric comes in the shape of this need to “Break out of the background” and take centre stage.
‘Think Twice’ brings forth a more interesting listen. Subtle guitar picks and inflections, propped up by a steady beat and bass lay down foundations for Bird’s voice to show more of its natural ability. This track is billed as an emotional ballad on the EP and in fairness it does grace the listener with a certain drama. It holds more of an aura than the first song as Bird questions heavy life decisions: “But is it my fault being so naïve / I thought the world had something better up its sleeve / Because this isn’t all I had expected”.
‘Hidden Away’ moves back to a more pop-derived sound, but adds atmospheric electric guitar notes with a mix of acoustic-sounding chords. Now a consistent theme up to this point, Bird brings forth her thoughtful lyricism as more of an emotive weapon than the music itself. “I don’t know how I can be the person I want you to see / when all else fails I’m back inside my shell.”
Afterwards, almost a direct contrast in sound the EP closes with the indie rock influenced ‘Give Me Faith’. As Bird negotiates struggles of anxiety and self-belief issues “I find myself in these uncomfortable crowds / what should I look for a way in or a way out?”, she looks for solace in herself as she seems to want herself to grow. “Oh my heart please give me faith / I will be needing it ‘til my dying day.” Frankie approaches her friends amongst other things, asking for traits to carry on. She illustrates that although a support system can come from those around you, it must start inside.
Frankie Bird grew up in Reading and developed her songwriting through performing live in local pubs at age 16, inspired by the music of Oasis and The Beatles which was often played there. She moved to London in late 2021 to pursue her career in music, becoming a regular on the open mic circuit and proving popular with audiences across the city.
Ultimately, Frankie Bird’s debut EP is a body of work which showcases a real knack for songwriting and solidifies her as an artist to watch in her genre as her sound inevitably progresses. For a debut collection, it’s a solid foundation block with raw glimmers shining through.