Mancunian singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama continues to tease us with another smart three-song set that follows on from 2010′s I Think It Was Love and 2008′s enticing In The Labyrinth, which arrived a full six years after her independently released debut LP, A Smaller Version Of The Real Thing. While we continue to hanker for a full-length follow-up, the intriguingly titled A Freak A EP more than adequately serves to once again highlight Oniyama’s seamless blend of folk, indie and African influences, in addition to her imaginative lyrics and soulful vocal delivery.
The title track drenches Oniyama’s strong, rich voice in reverb effects and boasts one of her most immediate hooks to date. A reworking of In The Labyrinth track ‘Davey’ retains its off-kilter rhythmic pulse and lilting melody, while closer ‘Salt Lake’ has a greater sense of rocking urgency, with an atmospheric (and vaguely Oriental) motif weaved in. Joan Armatrading is perhaps an obvious reference point, but a good one as Oniyama’s literary lyrics and warm voice share some similarities with the enduring singer-songwriter.
While EPs of this quality from Oniyama are always welcome, her potential will only be more fully realised with that elusive second album. Until then, A Freak A delivers as yet another promise of great things to come.
[Ark Recordings; December 5, 2010]