Katharine Philippa is one of the most interesting new artists to appear from Northern Ireland in the last few years. Witness her performance of ‘Broken to Be Rebuilt’ in St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for example. Recordings were scant til now but her new EP, also titled the Broken to be Rebuilt EP should help her in the recognition department.
That Philippa impressed at a church organ is not surprising, her music is elegant, acoustically-resonant, atmospheric. Her voice is expressive, reaching and brandishes significant ardency. “The world has become dulled and I can’t feel anything,” she sings on ‘Hosanna’, the EP’s opening track, addressing God, presaging a rousing howl of voices crying out to be rescued.
There’s anguish. “You hit this heart like a drumbeat,” Philippa sings on ‘Nightingale’, as piano chords rumble against percussive hits. ‘Pawns’ also rumbles, with abrasive industrial noise and piano tussling under a “pawns” sample and heartbreak “The queen / queen of hearts / Left me with clubs and spades / and I fold.”
There’s heartbreak and desolation on the title track which is reprised in orchestral quartet form to end the release. And it really does feel like a release, of Philippa’s experiences and emotions. But there’s also hope. ‘Home’ finds graceful flight in a rising piano melody, and letting it all out in such a spectacular fashion is cathartic for Philippa and lucky for us. Download the EP At Bandcamp – I did.