With the release of her 2017 EP, Something American, British singer/songwriter Jade Bird gave every appearance of a star in the making. Just 19 at the time, her youth, emotional honesty, and effortlessly powerful voice fueled her brand of melodic folk-rock with just the right amount of casual grit and breeziness. She broke out the following year with "Lottery," a punchy acoustic strummer with a rousing chorus that further showcased her skill with pop hooks and rock dynamics. "Lottery" -- along with subsequent singles like "Uh Huh" and the extremely catchy "Love Has All Been Done Before" -- is included here on her eponymous debut full-length from Glassnote Records. Recorded with her full-time backing band in New York's Catskill Mountains by producers Simone Felice (the Felice Brothers, the Lumineers) and David Baron (Matt Maeson), Bird's first outing dials in on her innate strengths with lean, unfussy arrangements that err more on the rock side of her sound. The lyrics are personal, touching on the classic introspections, doubts, and fragility of human nature, but delivered with an easy confidence by a voice that can run from winsome breathiness to full ragged glory, often within the same line. In keeping with the title of her first EP, a distinctly American influence remains apparent in Bird's style and a comparison to someone like Brandi Carlile wouldn't be too far off the mark. The rhythmic folk-rock grooves of Scotland's KT Tunstall also seem like an apparent forerunner to what Bird offers here to her own generation. Peppered in amongst the grittier tracks are a handful of piano-led ballads like "17" and "If I Die," adding a bit of diversity and range. In all, this is a solid debut full of well-written songs and plenty of attitude that delivers on the promise of her early singles.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger