This article originally appeared in The Skinny
Two years on from releasing debut album Carve Every Word, Aberdeen-born singer-songwriter Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, wrote most of her self-titled follow-up before turning 18. Born into a world where music is often consumed in short doses with individual tracks, Buchan’s vision for an album is one that’s constantly vying for the attention of the listener.
As such, Best Girl Athlete bursts at the seams with drama. Buchan often pushes the boundaries of the folk-pop foundations that it’s built upon, layering on vintage synths, the distinctive guitar slides of Americana and, on In Your Head, soulful brass. When all the elements come together harmoniously, as on the cinematic, emotionally arresting Lucy, it can be heart-stopping.
Restraint isn’t exactly Buchan’s style though, and at times Best Girl Athlete can feel overwhelming. Baby Come Home is pretty, but its melodies take a sudden back seat to accommodate Jack Hughes’ rapping; Silver City’s intricate, cascading piano is slightly reminiscent of Tori Amos, but the keys are almost completely overshadowed by strings. Even the airiest of the tracks, such as Sometimes, still push themselves to the limit.
The sheer scale of Buchan’s ambition on Best Girl Athlete is admirable. Digesting everything it has to offer might be a task best undertaken in bitesize doses though.