Lauren Waller’s Perhaps EP showcases many different sides of this multitalented artist. At times on the album one might find themselves rocking out and at other times, a more pop sound prevails, but no matter what song one is listening to audiences will be sure to be delighted to discover Waller.
“Letter” is a tune on the record that appears twice, once with full instrumentation and then near the end of the EP as an acoustic track and in most cases when artists express the same ideas, melodies, and words in two different contexts, the acoustic track usually wins over this reviewer. Such is the case with the alternate version of “Letter.” Stripped down to the bare minimum of instrumentation it really allows Waller’s pure voice to shine and the lyrics to hit home. It’s a song about letting a partner with apparent low self esteem know how important they are and the sentiment rings truer in this format. Waller wears her heart and emotional voice on her sleeve here, pouring every ounce of her soul onto the track. “I just need to see you try,” she pleads, sure to bring a tear to listeners eyes as it is a song that has the ability to hit home and tear down the walls of someone who is viewed as broken by another.
Waller is at her best when she digs into her alternative rock roots, a little bit of the band Paramore seeping into her music. “Breathe” starts off with bashing percussion and electric guitar setting up the perfect landscape for Waller’s rock growl. In your face and abrasive in the best way, Waller knows just how far to push the sound, still making it a catchy song that would fit easily on radio today. This is the most polished song on the entire record and is extremely dynamic and layered on all aspects of its production. Captivating from note one “Breathe” is the type of the song that hooks you and never lets go, especially with its electric energy that Waller brings in her vocal performance and with the peppy but edgy instrumentation. Still a bit tame on the rock music spectrum, this is the most Waller cuts loose and it makes this reviewer want to hear more of this side of Waller because the genre suits her so well.
The one song on the EP that stands out the most, and really encapsulates all that Waller is capable o,f is “100 Sleeps.” It has a The Pretenders retro feel, Waller putting her own spin on something Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde could have delivered herself. Here, Waller’s voice shines gloriously behind the pop sound with a bit of an alternative feel, again all with a throwback element that never sounds dated. When Waller lists all of the contradictions of who she is “little and big/strong and weak” one can’t help but applaud Waller for being so vulnerable and being in a way a spokeswoman on this track for everyone who needs to take a closer examination at themselves and stop measuring their worth depending on what another thinks of them. What starts off as a delightful song becomes an anthem for power and self love wrapped up in a neat musical package that everyone should listen to.
Elsewhere on the album, Waller doesn’t fare as well. “Down” sounds like the type of song listeners have heard a million times over and she doesn’t bring anything new to the track and “Never Were” only shines a spotlight on Waller’s voice and nothing much more but the good outweighs the negative here. Give Perhaps a listen and discover the many sides of Lauren Waller.