With a voice described as ‘the sound of a flower opening’, softly strummed guitar and woozy background melodies, Kate Stapley has created a beautiful garden of six songs for her debut EP, Centella.
London-born Kate who now resides in Bristol, has written some of the most poignant and down to earth lyrics that I have heard in a long time. Recorded at the bottom of Kate’s garden in Essex, it tells stories about family, womanhood and mental health, all pieced together so gently. Kate’s delicate voice soars over minimal background sounds and in the song, ‘Interlude’, the repeated first line of the verses “Uncle Jack could draw with both hands…” sets the nostalgic thoughtfulness of the song. The album appears to come from a place of reflection, one that somebody in a new city is likely to be experiencing.
Even if you haven’t seen or felt the things that Kate is singing about, you can relate simply to the fact that she is reflecting on her younger life with themes of growing up and thinking back to childhood. In my personal favourite, ‘These Planets’, the lines “Why even when I’m at home there’s a darkness in these bones, why even with a full heart I just fall into a dark hole, drowning in how little I know…” flow over cheerfully strummed guitar and soaring violin, all creating a bittersweet, bohemian sound. The name Centella comes from a herb used to treat Dementia which Kate happened to stumble upon when a lady in a flower shop handed it to her. The album cover features Kate wearing an eccentric dress surrounded by bunches of posies that set a whimsical, sweet tone that sits so well with the EP.
Kate is part of the independent Bristol-based label Breakfast Records, and over the last couple of months has been doing intimate shows around Bristol at venues like the Milk Thistle and The Lousisana. Her sounds are some of the most hypnotising and thought-provoking, transporting you immediately to a honeysuckle smelling garden and warming you right through.
Centella is now available to buy as a tape, CD or digital download from Breakfast Records.