Lotte Mullan is something of an enigma, one of the UK's hardest working and most musically accessible singer/songwriters, yet one curiously (to date) absent from the melee of celebrity/pop culture.
The quality of 'Plain Jane' comes as no surprise, having seen Lotte live various times (first in 2008 whilst on tour with much-hyped but now long-forgotten trio Mercurymen...where are those three hunks now? And most recently with the brilliant Alex Reeves on percussion) I have been aware of the quality and substance of her songwriting and performance for a long while, and have been waiting on tenterhooks for the release of this fine record since the announcement of its impending arrival, back in 2011.
Opening with the philosphical and unimpeachably catchy 'Fire In My Soul', the album traverses all manner of musical terrain over its 40 minute journey from start to finish, including the heartbroken lope of 'Would You Be So Kind', Rohypnol lullaby 'Wicked Way', the deeply persuasive future single 'Alright With Me', the irresistable sunshine-and-Uke-driven shagalogue 'When You Know', the glorious pop of 'The Last Time I Got High' and the Tennessee Three redux of the brilliant 'Give It Back'.
'Plain Jane' has been a long time coming, but now that it has arrived, do yourself a favour and wallow in it...it's not just an album, more a light-footed (yet often heavy-hearted) trip through the days and musical diary pages of one of the finest songwriters working today.
Album of the year? It's barely even February, but it'll take quite a heavyweight to topple this gem of an album from the top of my personal charts.