janet devlin

Review: Janet Devlin – ‘Little Lights’ Christmas EP

Janet Devlin first came to our attention in 2011, when she placed fifth on the eighth series of The X Factor. Since then, the 21-year-old singer songwriter has been honing her craft, building a large and loyal fanbase along the way as she continues to make music as an independent artist. After releasing her December Daze Christmas EP last year, Janet has once again delivered another present to her fans, in the form of Little Lights.

Little Lights is a six-track offering, made up of original tracks and re-invented classics which capture a range of feelings associated with this time of year. Of the EP, Janet said: “Little Lights is a slightly darker, more mellow venture into this special time of year. I wanted to acknowledge that it’s not always eggnog and wrapping paper, and that there are other, more contemplative emotions kindled at Christmastime.”

The EP kicks off with an original track called ‘Wake Up It’s Christmas’, described as a melancholy snapshot about heartbreak at Christmas. You are instantly drawn in by Janet’s haunting vocals. Whilst she sparkled on The X Factor, her vocals are even more stunning on this record.

It leads into a special version of Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’. The track is known for being an upbeat Christmas anthem, most often played at top volume at parties across the country. However, Janet has put her own spin on the song, combining her stirring vocals with a string-heavy sound. It is unlike any other version you’ll have ever heard, thanks to Janet’s unique vocals.

‘Merry Christmas Mum & Dad’ is next, another original track which is highly emotive. The track pays a touching tribute to Janet’s parents, acknowledging the effort they made each time Christmas Day rolled around. Sometimes, amongst all of the festivities, it’s easy to forget to say thank you for all of the little things. This beautiful song is the ultimate thank you to Janet’s parents, and is a song that will resonate with anyone who’ll be waking up in good surroundings this Christmas.

Janet continues with another cover, this time the classic ‘White Christmas’. It’s the perfect addition to the EP and suits Janet’s vocals beautifully. Strings are prominent throughout the EP, particularly on this track. Janet worked with composer and arranger Sally Herbert to create the stunning sound. She said, “I’ve always longed to make a record with a string quartet, and was extremely fortunate to be able to work Sally. She brought fantastic players into the A&B Studios London to add the extra dimension I was looking for. It’s made the tracks incredibly moving and given ‘Little Lights’ a special Christmas sparkle.”

The penultimate track is ‘Something Beginning With Christmas’, the first upbeat track on the EP. Whilst we’ve adored Janet’s haunting vocals throughout, it’s also great to hear another side to her. The anticipation and excitement at Christmas is evident throughout the folky sounding track. It’s a pleasant and warming song for the festive season, and we love the fun lyrics throughout. “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with Christmas.”

The EP comes to an end with ‘Christmas Kiss’, a track which Janet released digitally last year. The fun song sees the singer implore for one more ‘christmas kiss’. Of the track, she said, “I wanted to create a sound reminiscent of walking into a raucous Irish bar, with accordions, ukulele, guitars and bass. I’m not taking myself too seriously in the song, and felt this style of music would fit the mood!” It’s another uplifting track, with Janet delivering a polished vocal and some festive fun.

If you weren’t already feeling festive, Little Lights will set you on your way, but it will also make you consider all of the other emotions associated with this time of year. Janet’s spinetingling vocals will give you goosebumps throughout the slower songs, whilst she also reminds us that she can deliver jollier songs with ease too.

Recorded and produced by the award-winning producer Graeme Pleeth, and mastered by Christian Wright at the prestigious Abbey Road Studios, Little Lights has been released to coincide with Janet’s ‘My Opium’ tour, which started in Carlisle a few days ago.

The remaining ‘My Opium’ tour dates are as follows:

Janet Devlin ‘My Opium’ Tour:

Sat 26 Nov – The Tunnels, Aberdeen
Sun 27 Nov – The Cluny, Newcastle Upon-Tyne
Thu 1 Dec – Worthing Pier, Worthing
Fri 2 Dec – Drift Southsea, Portsmouth
Sat 3 Dec – South Devon Arts Centre, Totnes
Sun 4 Dec – Convent, Gloucester
Thu 8 Dec – Union Chapel, London
Fri 9 Dec – The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Sat 10 Dec – Platform , Lincoln
Wed 14 Dec – Empire Music Hall, Belfast
Fri 16 Dec – Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

Little Lights is available now on Pledge Music, where you can also get yourself some exclusive goodies and experiences.

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Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina
Email: katrinanaomirees@gmail.com