My Lovely Enemy by Grace McLean is a cinematic and bold collection of tracks featuring a diverse and textured vocal performance from McLean as well as some indie influences that have a real funk to them.
This first of these comes through in Love Your Enemy’s double bass performance. It adds a groove to the composition right from the get-go and its deep, soft timbre contrasts the high register of the vocal nicely. There’s a palpable discordance in the violin part behind the melody. To me, this feels like an intentional decision. The track builds on the titular idea of “My Lovely Enemy.” You get a sense of the layers of friendship and malice stacked on top of each other coming through the composition. The vocal performance builds upon this theme of uncomfortable relationships with a breathy and emotionally subdued delivery, as if for everything said, there are ten things that she’s holding back. This adds an enigmatic tension to the composition that elevates the feeling of suspense throughout.
The line at the end “life is darkness, death is daybreak” is once again at odds with the happy and luscious funky trill that plays during that section. This whole piece feels like a beautiful and contradictory house of cards we’re watching tumble. This may be one of the most thematically complex tracks we've looked at recently and I do not envy the relationship it represents.
Reckless builds on that sound, with a more heartfelt tinge, turning that sinister uncertainty into a playful and cheeky track above love and games. I specifically like the use of vocal samples that feature in the song, it helps set the bouncy tone for the rest of the track from the beginning. I would however say that it feels like a little bit of a tonal leap from “life is darkness and death is daylight.” I felt like I kept waiting for a dark twist that never came. Perhaps that tension is the point.
Everybody Loves has a more confident vibe, switching from bouncy rhythmic bass to more gentle, harmonic, and psychedelic sections. That variety gives each part the contrast to pop. I also love the group of voices singing “everybody loves” It brings with it a sense of unity that ties together all the tracks.
My Lovely Enemy is an excellent showcase of Grace McLean’s talent. It’s got beautiful instrumentation throughout with vocals that soar above and lead from the front. At points, there feels like a lack of thematic cohesion but at its core, what this piece truly emphasises is the technical and lyrical expertise of the creatives behind it.