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Stephanie Manns – Come Closer

Lisa Ward


With folk and country music making a cross over into commercial charts Stephanie Manns’ debut release is undoubtedly well timed. With backing from Creative Scotland, it might have been two years in the making but the delay only serves to produce a balanced offering, showcasing some of her best tracks.

Noticeably only one of the tracks from her EP Sweethearts and Angels made it onto the release, proving that Manns has a sizeable repertoire of noteworthy numbers. Like its predecessor there’s a good number of songs about heartbreak and love but it manages to tread the line, not indulging in the pity nor lauding in the pleasure that relationships can bring. Whilst it’s the more subdued Fingers and Toes which ends up being the stand out track, Come Closer is an album which manages to avoid filler tracks and bring something different at each turn.

True to its country routes the album focuses on conveying emotion.  The title track offers more sultry vocals matching the sentiment of the song, whilst The Way You Want Me To is carried by the more staccato sounds of the lead guitar and the atmospheric slide guitar. It’s these subtle instrumentations which grow with each listen, laying sounds and textures which faultlessly echo the sentiment of each song. Though it’s comparatively more pop than the rest of the album, closer Daisychains has a more twee sound, the ukulele and sweet vocals slightly reminiscent of Colbie Caillat. That’s not a criticism however, but a reflection of its catchy vibe which defies you not to keep singing the chorus long after the song is done.

Meanwhile it’s the intonation of the more uptempo Get Gone which carries the song and shows the diversity Manns’ voice is capable of. Though her debut has less of the storytelling nature that Madison Violet boast, it’s clear that her sound is at least in part influenced by their styling, and this is especially apparent in Carnival. Comparisons aside however, Come Closer proves Manns’ is worthy of her own accolade. Already building a following in her hometown of Glasgow and notching up some impressive support slots, I can only hope this album opens up new doors and brings her sound to the wider audience it deserves.


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