Charity worker makes enchanting debut

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Mara Carlyle – The Lovely

Teased out from a series of four-track demos recorded at home between shifts working for a homeless charity, 28-year-old singer Mara Carlyle’s first solo offering is a balmy, beguiling affair. A kind of abstract Norah Jones, Carlyle’s lushly soothing voice has graced records by the Matthew Herbert Big Band and Plaid, who helped with The Lovely’s delicate arrangements. In places, particularly on “Alive”, she sounds self-conscious, as if tentative about performing her own deeply personal music. But “Bonding” and “I Blame You Not”, creamy exhalations both, prove Carlyle to be a very promising talent.