EP Review: Holly Humberstone - 'The Walls Are Way Too Thin'

Born and bred just a stone’s throw away in Grantham, electronic-pop newbie Holly Humberstone has quickly become an East Midlands gem. Establishing herself as one to watch with debut offering ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’, anticipation for the 21-year-old’s second EP has been high. Rhianna Greensmith breaks down ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’.

The Walls Are Way Too Thin arrives just two days after Holly Humberstone’s home city show at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, during which the then unreleased material was enthusiastically received. Being one of many artists who rose to prominence during the uncertain conditions of last year, it is refreshing to be able to view this release in the context of its performability.

"Battling feelings of loneliness in a new city, [Holly] sings of clinging to ‘the same old sad songs’ for comfort."

Charting her move from Grantham to The Big Smoke in pursuit of a blossoming music career, The Walls Are Way Too Thin instantly has a topical maturity on her previous body of work.

Opening number Haunted House carries the weight of a sentimental ballad, aided immensely by the captivating instrumental at the beginning. An ode to her childhood ‘fortress’ of a home spent with her three sisters, this song sees Humberstone at her most sincere. It is a love song to the house that shaped her, ‘ghosts’ and all. Her sentimental depiction of moving out holds an inherent relatability that is echoed throughout the EP.

Yet, title track The Walls Are Way Too Thin instantly has more of a pop feel. The peaceful vulnerability of Haunted House is replaced by a chaotic force. Battling feelings of loneliness in a new city, she sings of clinging to ‘the same old sad songs’ for comfort. There is such a depth to Humberstone’s writing: ‘the house is full, but I’m alone’ of the second verse, for instance, is sang in such a throwaway manner, but it really strikes an emotional chord.

Testament to her status in the industry, the singer-songwriter bags a collab with The 1975’s Matty Healy on Please Don’t Leave Just Yet. The song is sonically ambitious - the echoing back of ‘I know you’re getting over it’ feels as though you are listening in on a personal conversation, which has a poignant depth when the loneliness expressed lyrically is considered.

The real highlight, however, is another previously released single Scarlett. Holly really does not shy away from drawing on shared experience here. The eponymous Scarlett being one of her closest friends, it recounts a break-up from her perspective. ‘We go together like bad British weather / On the one day I made plans’ has to be one of the wittiest lyrics heard this year; it’s the kind of line that makes you smile to yourself whilst singing back. Such subtle humour embedded into her writing adds a warm and uplifting quality to Holly’s music.

Ultimately, it seems fair to say that Holly Humberstone’s second EP further accentuates her ‘one to watch’ title. Her articulate lyricism and self-assuredness truly show that, in Humberstone, we have a budding star.

Written by: Rhianna Greensmith

Edited by: Elliot Fox

In article images courtesy of Holly Humberstone via Facebook. Video Courtesy of Holly Humberstone via YouTube.