Since finishing as the runner up on the second season of NBC’s The Voice, singer-songwriter Juliet Simms is now focusing on the release of her second EP From the Grave. While on the show, Simms showcased her unique voice through her renditions of various classic rock gems though this time around she’s putting out her own original material.
Simms has built up a reputation for herself based primarily on her “rocker-type” persona and those characteristics are definitely prevalent throughout this EP. The first two tracks, “Get Ready” and “Say Hello” feature a nice grittiness to them and will likely please listeners who are familiar with Simms’ style that she put forth while on The Voice. “Get Ready” shows off Simms’ strong vocals early on and has some nice blues instrumentals which mix well to create an enjoyable, albeit slightly generic, arena rock sound. “Say Hello” features some good Billy Gibbons-esque guitar quality that carries a Southern charm to it and once again showcases strong vocals front and center. While these tracks can be fun for those who enjoyed Simms’ reality TV work, they can’t help but come across as a bit bland in terms of their structure. The instrumentation is fine and Simms’ vocals are top notch, but there isn’t too much that really makes these songs stand out, especially as introductions for the EP.
Thankfully, track 3 “Tidal Wave” offers a refreshing change with its far more indie pop approach. With a sound that is completely removed from its prior two songs, “Tidal Wave” is a much more stripped down track and it greatly benefits from it. Simms is front and center here which helps prove how talented she can be when she’s not held back by certain rock cliches. This style honestly fits Simms much better and it’s something that she could probably expand on and have good success with. With a voice that’s reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, Simms truly feels in her own skin here and that’s what makes the track as enjoyable as it is. The song itself might not be overly complicated in presentation, but it makes up for it in context of the EP by being a nice breath of fresh air.
The slower tracks don’t stop with “Tidal Wave” either. Track 6 “Frances” revolves around Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love but although it features such a unique song writing premise, it unfortunately can’t seem to break free of just being a standard acoustic ballad. While the song could be a treat for fans of Nirvana/Hole, it could have dove into its interesting topic even deeper and offer a slightly more memorable point of view. However, the closing track “Found Missing” is able to capitalize on its raw sound with pure emotion. While the lyrics might come across as a bit generic, the vocal prowess of Simms is most noteworthy on this track. With “Found Missing” comprising of just Simms and her acoustic guitar, she is truly able to allow listeners to just soak in her talent. This track yet again proves that Simms is at her best when she is featured on a more stripped down style that allows her to prove how good of a performer she can be.
While the diversity of the album is respectable, one can’t shake the feeling that it could have been stronger if it actually took a risk and strayed away from its rock roots. Simms is of course known for her classic rock persona which has gained her a high amount of attention over the years, though it would have been nice to see her continue to branch out and attempt something that could challenge her in other areas. As far as this EP goes, From the Grave should have enough songs to please fans who were already familiar with Simms’ style while still offering some more different material as well. Simms is putting out the type of material that she has been known for, but it could be a rewarding payoff if she possibly takes things in a different direction next time around and see what she ends up with in other genres.