I must admit, I was very excited when I heard The Accidentals had finally released an album, albeit a 4 track EP, becoming the first all-female group to so for over a year. It is encouraging progress for the group based in St Andrews, who have had a relatively quiet year by their standards, having lost several of their established group members through graduation and failing to reach the Voice Festival UK Final for the first time since 2009.
But the news that the group will be taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a short period is, literally and metaphorically, music to my ears, and so the fact I can now listen to them whenever I want while helping them to fund their Fringe run makes me very happy. That’s why I’m sitting here on the balcony of my Russian apartment soaking in the sun, eating ice cream and enjoying the start of the summer.
And this is very much a summery album, which has injected an additional, gratifying layer of summery goodness into this already extremely pleasant afternoon. The album kicks off with the girls’ cover of Jessie J’s Price Tag, and I almost want to describe it as ‘bubbly’, with the cutesy ‘Do’ and ‘Ba’ sounds filling the background as if it were the first song of a bubblegum-pop infused Now That’s What I Call Summer! album. It becomes clear after a while that this song is a mash-up, and indeed we are introduced to Where Is The Love? by the Black Eyed Peas, with the solo and ad-libs tackled superbly by Gemma O’Brien’s magically smooth alto voice. Credit must also be due to Becky Muir, whose solo on this track is nothing short of exceptional.
The poppiness continues onto track 2, which is another mash-up of Nelly’s Ride With Me, Ridin’ Solo from Jason DeRulo and Busted’s Year 3000, all of which blend very well together. I do lament that one is unable to watch the girls perform this particular track live, as I remember it was much enhanced by some clever and hilarious choreography during their Voice Festival set that year. Nevertheless, it’s a strong, if a little short explosion of pop.
The girls tone it down a little bit for the third track, which further emphasises the solo talent in this group, with Grace Hardy, Anna McDonald and particularly Ellie Mason excelling here. The track is JLS’s Love You More, and while the soloists shine, I do feel there’s nothing out of the ordinary about the backing in this particular number, with the girls not really adding much of a personal touch to the original track. Until, that is, Gemma O’Brien intoxicates us all again towards the climax of the piece with another silky solo which really adds a much needed extra dimension to this song.
The final piece features the award-winning solo of Anna McDonald on Adele’s Rollin’ In The Deep. This is by no means an easy song to sing, and Anna really shows her ability to be in command of her voice by not just belting the number out as loudly and as brashly as possible, but instead delivering a controlled performance ahead of more slightly innocuous backing, which in a way works well here and allows the strong solo to shine through.
The girls have therefore produced a very cutesy, summery album, and while I do feel it does lack real substance, that’s not really what the Accidentals are all about. They play to their strengths on this short album, with strong solo performances from several group members, and from what we saw at the Voice Festival this year, that tradition has continued with their new batch of talent. I would like to see the girls tackle some more meaty songs in the future, but regardless of that, I thoroughly look forward to seeing them perform at the Fringe Festival in the coming summer – on the back of this album, they could go down extremely well.