Lissie is a fine songwriter, but also has an impressive history of covering other people’s songs; her YouTube channel includes songs by Danzig, Metallica, One Direction and Romance Police and on a previous EP from 2012, Covered up with Flowers, she covered Lady Gaga and Kid Cudi amongst others.
Lissie is also an extraordinary vocalist; if telephone books still exist and need to be sung, she should be the person to sing them. The selection of songs on five track EP, Thank You to the Flowers, varies from the well-known to blockbuster hit, which perhaps raises the difficulty of improving on the original or adding anything new by way of interpretation.
Daringly, Lissie starts with a personal song, Martha Wainwright’s “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”, which was “inspired” by Wainwright’s father, Loudon Wainwright III. Lissie pushes the song from folk into rock, and her vocal swoops and soars with the necessary indignation, her variations in intonation evoking a frustrated argument. It’s a suitably emotionally direct performance and well executed.
Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and Paula Cole’s “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” are both popular songs to the extent of being over-heard. Lissie takes an almost casual approach to them, with a paired-down backing which ensures the stories stand out. The drama of “Wrecking Ball” is intensified by atmospheric reverb, and the sad comedy of “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” by the interrogative vocal.
The songs are apparently by some of Lissie’s favourite female artists, and overall there is a powerful sense of femininity. Lana Del Ray’s “Change” is taken at a faster pace but without losing any sensitivity, and is a successful showcase for Lissie’s vocal range. Prince would probably have been pleased to be sandwiched in such interesting female company, and his pop standard “Nothing Compares 2 U”, made most famous by Sinéad O’Connor, is at its’ most ethereal here to the extent of almost being gothic.
As a stop-gap between albums of her own material, Thank You to the Flowers is an admirable diversion demonstrating Lissie’s versatility and strength as a performer; Lissie may be thankful for the flowers, but many music fans should also be equally grateful for this EP.
Label: Cooking Vinyl Limited
Release Date: 20 NOV 2020