A girl in a cheap wig and a blue tube dress laughs maniacally as she flicks through television channels. A motionless male lies face down on the dirty bed of a grimy hotel. He’s either unconscious or dead, you’ll find out soon. Into his back, the word ‘LAW’ has been viciously carved with a coat hanger.
LAW is Lauren Holt, and this is her debut music video.
‘Hustle’ is the only complete work yet to surface from Holt. This mutoid pop number, with its off-kilter percussion and weird hooks, was enough to summon a splurge of digital interest.
A love for the visuals was instant, but it was the bittersweet soul voice that resonated strongest. Lauren comes from a jazz band background, and it bleeds through her vocals with restrain and experience.
She explains: “I started off a few years ago, and I was singing jazz for a bit with a piano player. That’s when I learned about less is more. When I first started, you just go mad. But then you realise that it’s harder to sing quietly and subtly than it is to just go over the top.”
The less-is-more approach doesn’t just dictate Lauren’s singing, but also her creative output. Since ‘Hustle’ dropped, LAW has only yielded one more video, a short montage that previews four new tracks.
“There’s an album in the bag already, but we’re just trying to give people a taster of what else we’ve got,” Lauren says. The snippets span from smashes of ominous disco to Caribbean bass and even 16-bit melodies, all scored by fellow Edinburgh inhabitants and close friends Young Fathers.
Throughout one particularly twinkly snippet, she even strums along with “an auto-harp! You don’t see many of them. It’s really hard, it’s a weird one, but it does sound very nice.”
As an outsider looking to Scotland for jaw-breaking new music, it can be hard to see past the forward-thinking labels (Numbers, LuckyMe) and cult record stores (Rubadub) of Glasgow. But, with Young Fathers and LAW both hitting their stride, it might be time to start widening our gaze about 46 miles east, to a little basement in Edinburgh.
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What: Mutoid pop
Get 3 Songs: ‘Hustle’ (video above), ‘Cold Fingers’, ‘Transcenders’
Unique Fact: LAW all started from a volunteer job in a charity shop.
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Words: Joe Zadeh
Photo: Neil Bedford
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