Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, “Twin Peaks” by British soul singer Alice Russell from her new album, To Dust, on Tru Thoughts.
With new record To Dust, Alice Russell is making some serious strides. She just came through Seattle playing an excellent set at KEXP a couple weeks ago, and now she is continuing throughout the summer on a grandiose tour through Europe. Russell takes a wide variety of styles into her soul sound. The strong songwriting technique of contemporaries like Adele is met with full force by a strong 70s funk undertone and an R&B kick. Russell’s tracks are raw and melodically driven by a wide instrumentation. Put together, Russell’s act is meant to be experienced live in full force and power. But on the record, her work sounds just as sweet.
“Twin Peaks” takes To Dust to a grooving yet eerie place. An apprehensive keyboard piece leads the hook as piano and synthesized strings add gorgeous harmony. Russell sings about a sleepwalking stint full of fear and anxiety. “They say that you are the only one to talk some sense into me” she sings on the chorus, giving anchor to the surreal drifting of the verses. In contrast to other cuts on To Dust, on “Twin Peaks”, love is a cut and run scenario, where there isn’t as much a battle of redemption as much as a need to escape. The lyrical and thematic contrast are accompanied by an equally enticing instrumentation, which dabbles in experimental jazz and R&B. Altogether, it’s a gorgeous cut that shows you a different side of Russell than her singles might.
Alice Russell was very recently in town during her U.S. tour and is currently performing in Europe for the rest of the summer. Fortunately for you, we captured her in-studio session from earlier this month here. Keep watching it until she comes back, and keep checking her website and Facebook page for updates. For now, here’s the official video for the new album’s single “Heartbreaker”: