TOTT #5: CHLÖE HOWL

Chlöe Howl had the great honour of being our first tip of the year. Nearly twelve months on she’s proven to be one of 2013’s best. Since we first featured Chlöe way back in January, she reached the ripe old age of 18. More importantly, she earned herself a nomination for the (probably) much coveted BRITS Critics Choice award, a gong previously won by the likes of Adele and Emile Sande, no less.

It’s pretty easy to see why Chlöe has garnered so much blogosphere buzz, holding, as she does, all the key ingredients to make an enthralling, chart bothering, fully fledged popstar. A fiery, youthful exuberance, a biting tongue, bags of personality, and crucially, the tunes to back it up.

Take the track that first brought her to our attention, ‘No Strings’ for example.  Officially released as her first single back in August, ‘No Strings’ is the kind of irreverent pop banger Miley Cyrus and her tongue would (probably) do unimaginable things to get their grubby mitts on.

It fizzes with energetic, bouncy riffs played beautifully against Howl’s snarling delivery. “Fuck your no strings/I hope I have twins” she growls in a chorus built around buzzing synths that sound like ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and ‘Dance Wiv Me’ scrapping in a tent somewhere in a field at V Festival. It’s bound to be massive when it gets its, fully deserved, re-release next summer.

While most of us may well have seen in our 18th birthday slumped over a pint of Guinness, half asleep on the bar at their local boozer, Chlöe Howl did it by offering up her ‘Rumour’ EP as a free download, the title track of which is about to get its very own proper single release. It’s a gem of a pop track, packed full of irresistible hooks and enough storylines to put Hollyoaks to shame. Howl deals with teenage pregnancy, abusive lovers and more, all backed by vibrant, breakneck bubbling synths, before getting all reflective in the chorus (“I’m just trying to work out/how to be like myself”).

More recently, she dropped her second single ‘Paper Heart.’ Led by a pulsating bass line, bringing to mind Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, ‘Paper Heart’ shimmers with a euphoric liveliness that just about manages to contain all of the bright melodies bursting all over the place. It’s probably the most joyous break up song you’ll hear this side of Cee-Lo Green.

Having ended 2013 by releasing ‘Rumour’ as her third single, the BBC Sound Of 2014 shortlister kicks off the new year as the main support for Ellie Goulding on her gigantic European arena tour, before getting back to work on her debut album – due out next year. “All my songs are about being a bored teenager, ‘cos I am one” she once said in an interview. Well Chlöe, get ready because 2014 is about to get a lot less boring.

Words by George Shaw

Originally posted on The Tipping Point on January 7th

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