EP Review: Little Drum – Darling Ocean

Darling Ocean is the debut four-track EP from London-based trio Little Drum. Stripped-back and full of soul, it’s a beautiful introduction to this folk three-piece.

By Graeme Smith

Though this EP is their first release together, the three members of Little Drum are no strangers to the music industry. Indeed, they’ve worked together before as well, alongside the likes of Paolo Nutini, Imelda May, Jack Savoretti, Mel C (of the Spice Girls) and Faithless. What drew them to record Darling Ocean was their shared love of blues, folk and soul and that’s certainly what you get from this EP.

Starting with the auditory feast that is the EP’s title track, you are immediately captured by frontwoman Pauline Taylor’s heartfelt vocals. Delicate but with a hidden power, they deliver the poetic track quietly and with subtlety, making you lean in. She’s accompanied by ghostly harmonies and folksy guitar courtesy of Matty Benbrook and Donny Little.

The EP then takes a surprise turn into the lively Love Is The Key. Pauline puts aside the subtlety and belts out the gospel-like chorus, accompanied by stomping percussion and layers of plucked strings. The lyrics are imbued with imagery that brings to life its simple, uplifting message.

Things return to gentle folk in track three Runner, but introduced are electronic elements. The percussion is brought to the fore, plodding along appropriately in a track that laments the world moving too quickly around oneself.

Finally, the EP comes to a close with the stripped-back and intimate Traffic And The Rain. Brimming with authentic emotion, it speaks deep and universal truths through the medium of the mundane. It’s incredibly powerful and the perfect end to a highly accomplished collection.

It’s clear from Darling Ocean that Little Drum are musicians who know their stuff and have shared their love of their preferred genres fearlessly. Drawing on such classic influences, they’ve created something both timely and timeless and I, for one, can’t wait to hear more from them. I hope you’ll agree.

You can hear Darling Ocean below.