‘Spirals’ by Kate Ellis

So much can happen between now and five years from graduating college to falling in love and starting a family. For Kate Ellis, five years separate her debut from her 2022 sophomore release. In that time this London-based artist has grown but not forgotten her American roots as ‘Spirals’ gives off an Americana meets country spirit, but also has these beautiful singer-songwriter moments where a Joni Mitchell-like narrative is delivered with melodious ease. 

The first thing that popped out when pressing play on ‘Spirals’ was the poetic nature of the record. I took pen to paper and wrote out the first few lines of “Can’t Not” and it truly read as such. So you knew right away that lyrically, this album was going to deliver throughout but it was not just the format, it was the way her words came through to deliver great narratives like in “Another Way” and “Bluebirds And Rye.” The latter gave way to a song anyone would be delighted to hear live as it had a great sing-along aspect to it. The same can and should be said of “Other Side Of The Street.” This one had one of those choruses that immediately hooks you to the point that you’ve got it instantly memorized and are humming it the rest of the day. 

“Other Side Of The Street” was also one of the moments where you could hear the country influences in Kate Ellis’ music. It was more subtle and came through lightly but surely. As opposed to “Scars,” which burst through with the country elements. It was a standout on the record for that and a change of pace compared to its musical siblings that surrounded it on ‘Spirals.’ 

Speaking of, the title track also stood out as it really gave me all of the above and then some. There was the singer-songwriter’s ease that lent itself to this poignant narrative I felt was relatable, especially with what’s been going on in the world as of late. This idea of getting lost in our cyclical thoughts. Something that the anchor of this record, “The Story You’ve Been Told” later echoes as it takes the theme of the record as well as the poetic nature of Kate Ellis’ artistry and stands as a notable bookend to the album as a whole. 

Listening through as just a fan of music, the songs I kept going back to were ones that reminded me of live music. As someone who practically lived in venues throughout college and for many years after, not being able to go to concerts these past couple of years were hard so songs that remind me of the wonders of being in the middle of a crowd always warm my heart. The aforementioned “Other Side Of The Street” was one of those, but so was “Wonderland.” I’ve yet to dive into this one and did want to turn the spotlight on it for a moment because it wasn’t just a song I wanted to be engulfed in during a live music experience, it was one I got lost in – in the best way possible. 

When reality is doing the most, it’s comforting to be able to press play and just fall into a musical haze. “Wonderland” offered that to me and for that, I’m grateful. It’s a song I’d go back to and place on a personal “Wind Down” playlist to enjoy later. The same can be said of “Spirals” because as I said before, I loved how much Kate Ellis gave me Joni Mitchell vibes, and this song delivered on that the most for me. 

As a whole, ‘Spirals’ is for music fans who appreciate records that have an Americana spirit but also stand tall as a truly singer-songwriter experience complete with poetic narratives that could and should be experienced in a live setting.

Kate’s sophomore release was produced by John Reynolds, who’s worked alongside Sinéad O’Connor and the Indigo Girls, and it’s available now on all major music and streaming sites.

Written by Kendra Beltran

Join Our Mailing List

to learn about emerging artists