Two of Edinburgh’s hottest alternative music exports – Young Fathers, winners of the 2014 Mercury Prize for Dead, and frequent tour partner Lauren “Law” Holt – have staked out their territory clearly. Politically unapologetic, sometimes militant, but always devoted to their original, aggressive sound, the artistic pairing are standard bearers for an alternative R’n’B style that is raw and distorted, but addictively melodic and heartfelt.
Law stands at the precipice of widespread acclaim, releasing her debut album City in August. Her songwriting approach is unique but harkens back to classic Motown and Stax soul, as well as future-pop extraterrestrials like Janelle Monae and SIA.
With a look that is as fierce and powerful as Grace Jones, and a voice that can be thunderously deep in one verse, delicate and romantic in the next, Holt is a dominating presence. Her music stands out in any setting, and this is because she can achieve a balance between chaotic, scattered rhythms, and pop hooks like few other artists.
Publications like Clash, Spin, and The Guardian have classified Law as the ‘next wave’ and the ‘new sound’ as she has been ahead of the curve and under the radar for a long time coming. At a performance at Pleasance in 2013, Holt was louder and more in-your-face than any other performer in the lineup. It seemed almost crass at the time, but three years – and a slew of price hikes on tickets to see her – later, and the performance seemed futuristic. In interviews, she is refreshing, honest, and appears fearless. This quality comes through on songs like “Spit” and “Down Boy” off her debut album. Look out for Law on tour for her debut album, and also possibly at local shows.
Photo: Law Holt