Lauren Aquilina’s fourth EP, Ocean, following a couple years silence, was a very exciting prospect as you could only expect her to have grown in her already impressive musical wisdom in those two years. However, this new effort draws very mixed feelings. The eponymous first song on the EP is a broader, deeper, more well rounded song than much of her early releases with the musical complexity having its own distinctive part in the song, whereas on earlier EPs it often very much felt like background to Lauren Aquilina’s wonderful voice.
Low, the second song, retains Aquilina’s raw emotion put into lyrics, showcasing her incredible wisdom and maturity (it’s easy to forget she is only twenty), particularly in its bridge. The instrumental accompaniment also is far more central to the song than it would have been on earlier releases, complimenting rather than simply accompanying Aquilina’s soaring vocals. Out Of Our Depth, the final new song on the EP, begins in the simple vein of the early days with Aquilina’s voice accompanied by a piano, building up towards the chorus, where the addition of the music gives a more complete feel, albeit at the expense of lyrical complexity. The chorus (lyrically the weakest part of the song) is possibly repeated one too many times detracting slightly from its brilliant start to leave the listener having expected more, based on the start.
There are three more tracks on the EP, though they barely deserve such a description as all three are remixes of previous songs on the album. Ocean is remixed twice, while Low gets the same treatment for the final song. Given Lauren Aquilina music is predominantly driven by her exceptional voice, and her songwriting talents, the addition of a more noticeable bass and bizarre electronic sounds onto these songs, diverting attention from and in parts even displacing Aquilina’s work, is simply unnecessary and quite frankly an unwelcome second half of the EP.
So whilst it remains welcome news that Lauren Aquilina has reappeared in the music world and the first two songs on the EP tease interesting new ideas (her returning single Time To Say Goodbye – not on this EP – gives many reasons to be pleased Aquilina has returned), this EP which promises so much just left a slight feeling of disappointment and, in relation to the second half, just a confused bemusement, though I still await the rumoured forthcoming album with high expectations.