Diane Birch at Century
Four years after the release of her debut album Bible Belt, for which she shot to fame in the US, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Diane Birch is back with her second album Speak A Little Louder – and a tougher, more powerful sound.
She presents a set that is a mix of tracks taken from the album, some of which have their soul in the 80s, while others possess a more modern sound. Birch and her piano are backed only by a small band, but one that packs a real punch. Despite the intimate setting of the Theatre Room at Century, the sound is big and all encompassing.
She’s a big deal across the pond, having been discovered by Prince while playing at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. She has subsequently played with the likes of Daryl Hall and has opened for Stevie Wonder; just last week she performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC.
Birch’s powerhouse vocals are showcased in All the Love You Got, a slow-burner that has a brooding, intense start but builds to an energetic climax that shows off the tracks potential as a single – the first from the album. Pretty in Pain is a funk-filled, key-pounding track that makes it easy to see why she has been compared to many a pop legend from decades gone by. With notes of Carole King and Kate Bush, Birch takes the enigmatic storytelling and pronounced synths indicative of both artists and cleverly works such influences into a sound that is distinctly her own. But while Birch herself welcomes comparisons with pop music of the 70s and 80s, there is an edgy, modern quality to her vocals and to the feel of her performance that makes her all the more exciting.
With an Enya-style choral opening and the kind of heavy drums Phil Collins would be proud of, the set concludes with Lighthouse; a track that explodes into a thumping, full-bodied number whose chorus still rattles around, hours on.
For further information and future events visit Diane Birch’s website here.
Watch the video for All The Love You Got here: