Katy J Pearson makes reinvention look easy. The Bristol singer-songwriter was formerly half of Ardyn, a short-lived indie-pop collaboration with her brother which fell foul of major label politics, but you wouldn’t be able to tell, such is the proficiency with which she creates her own world on ‘Return’.
From the jaunty americana opening to ‘Tonight’, the record plays out like some sepia-tinted western/romance crossover, a charming rework of country. The most endearing quality to ‘Return’ is its romanticism. ‘Beautiful Soul’ finds Pearson warbling warmly to a companion over string accompaniment, ‘Hey You’ takes a more patient approach, more of a gentle nudge that says “I’m here for you”. Sonically the latter could be some long lost Fleetwood Mac b-side - Pearson’s silky vocal has more than a hint of Stevie to it.
Pearson celebrates her return to music in different ways. The album’s title-track is a wonderful mission statement, a totally stripped-back affair that blooms optimistically, like the sun shining down after a thunderstorm. And a pair of upbeat numbers really find her in her element; crisp and refreshing, ‘Take Back the Radio’ radiates joy, while ‘Fix Me Up’ is the light at the end of the tunnel, an uber-catchy celebration of new-found confidence.