In 2013, word was beginning to spread about Law Holt. After ‘Hustle’ – co-written with Young Fathers’ production team – began to pick up attention from the likes of The Guardian, Line of Best Fit, Time Out and The Skinny, Law (aka Lauren Holt) was on the up. And deservingly so. Yet, after a freak accident (or rather, a crazy woman on a bus) left Law needing various operations to save her sight, shows and recording were put on hold. Thus, three years later, we’re finally being treated to her debut album.
To be honest, on first listen I was slightly unconvinced by City. There’s a roboticness that seems to require a very particular mood, and to put it very simply, it’s quite a harsh listen. It quickly grew on me, however, and giving the album a deeper listen resulted in a newfound admiration for Law.
Perhaps the result of the incident, or perhaps just a natural strength, Law is unshakably fierce, and beautifully, brutally honest. ‘Summer’s Coming’, for example, tells the tale, in her own words of: “the easy junky promises of a man who can’t help himself. Too wasted to be a lover, but with a loving soul. Crying out to his best friend from some kind of forced rehab in the country for her to come and save him. But she’s already given him everything she can.” Though it’s this fierceness that I perhaps mistook for a coldness on first listen, it’s apparent that what it actually is is raw emotion, portrayed exceptionally well.
City builds throughout the first half of the album, reaching an incredibly cool, emotionally-charged crescendo in the form of ‘Spit’. Law described her music as “Law-themed” once, a statement which could – on the outside – seem a little conceited. Yet with its unique blend of punky harshness, pop-sensibilities and an underlying electronic mania, it can’t really be compared to, or described as anything but Law. And touché to her for realising that.
After the almost hypnotic madness of ‘It’s Inside Us’, City draws to a close with ‘Easy For Love’; refreshingly calm but just as strong as those leading up to it.
City is Law letting us know that she’s unstoppable.
City, the debut album from Law Holt, is out tomorrow – 26 August – via Soulpunk.