That this latest album, Young Heart, demonstrates an ever-growing maturity is obvious from the first listen. Written alongside Jamie Scott (with production by James Ford), it’s also solid evidence of Birdy’s natural ability as a sharp songwriter. And while the song selection on her self-titled debut album – which consisted exclusively of covers – revealed an artist whose musical tastes belied their years at the time of its release – the maturity that’s evident on Young Heart is of a different kind. Here, it’s more personal and considered. The themes are less upbeat than the stories that were spun on Birdy’s last album, Beautiful Lies, and it’s evident that loneliness and longing have formed much of the inspiration this time around.
Gentle piano opener “The Witching Hour” sets a pleasant tone, before “Voyager” picks things up, with gorgeous melodies and a sense of yearning that’s never far away from here on in. “River Song” is breezy yet mournful, with more than a hint of Michael Kiwanuka‘s soul about it, while Little Blue is gorgeous in its sparcity; a straight-from-the-heart story of loss. There are glimpses of hope in the story-telling towards the end too, best heard on title-track and closer “Young Heart”.
It’s all too easy to overlook how spot-on Birdy sounds vocally on pretty much every track on this album, comfortably equalling more established artists in tone and style. Consequently, Young Heart is consistent from start to finish. While it won’t necessarily ruffle many feathers, it’s a coherent addition to an already charming catalogue from Birdy.