Maybe it’s a bit safe, possibly even plain - but it’s nice, you know? It's comforting. Who doesn't like a bit of ordinary soft scoop, every now and again?
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Press play on Renée's latest album and you will be greeted with the tinkling of a music box and a stream of soft, gentle and mildly soporific female mumbling. And thus it continues for 40 minutes. The whole thing delivers hefty dose of twee, equal to any episode of Watch with Mother.
But hey, what’s wrong with that? Who doesn’t like to be put to bed with a glass of warm milk and a bedtime story, sometimes? Renée’s quietly eccentric storytelling really does bear resemblance to the slightly bizarre and anthropomorphic world of Oliver Postgate - on track six she transfigures a girl into an Elegant Elephant and in track five she laments missing her lover's “sweet Fish Kiss”. But in spite of the obviously saccharin song writing, Extending Playground still has a lot to offer.
For one, the arrangements are sumptuous- vibes, rhodes, glockenspiel and double bass nestle next to one another to create delicious flavour of lounge jazz. Secondly, Renée's velvet vocals are infinitely listenable and easily make the transition between quiet reflections on more adult themes – love, sex and longing are most definitely on her mind- and the shy, self-critical wonderings of a young girl, Bellydancer being a case in point. The song is an understated meditation on being bullied because of weight issues, but one which is punctuated by an undeterred, ringing repetition of “full fat please”. Atta girl.
Extending Playground is a charmingly record, one which fans of CALLmeKAT and SoKo will surely appreciate. Despite the subtle hints of subdued melancholy, there can be no doubt about it: this album is distinctly vanilla. Maybe it’s a bit safe, possibly even plain - but it’s nice, you know? It's comforting. Who doesn't like a bit of ordinary soft scoop, every now and again?