It is the cyclical nature of the thing which means that a large proportion of the music industry is employed, gainfully or otherwise, in the ceaseless hunt for ‘the next [insert name of whatever was big last year]’ – the prize being finding it before anyone else. Or at least a not-too-indecent period after the pack. And we are no different.
For the purpose of clarity, the name in the frame this year is Adele. Which is particularly handy if you happen to be young(ish), inoffensive, soulful and in possession of lung capacity greater than the GDP of Botswana.
Ticking all four boxes, it is little surprise that Ren Harvieu appears on the BBC’s Sound of 2012 list, although don’t let that put you off. Harvieu is not the next Adele, although you had probably guessed this already. Her voice is nuanced with an effortless haze that feels like late summer (which is remarkable, since she is from drizzly Hulme) and which is infinitely better suited to lush choruses than it is to belt-it-out torch songs.
Harvieu also boasts some genuine indie credentials. ‘Through the Night’ may contain traces of MOR subject matter – girl meets boy, girl obsesses over boy (opening line: ‘I’m so nervous, don’t know what I’m supposed to do’) – but it also has a crackling, 60’s tinged pop energy that exposes her association with the likes of Howie Payne and Glasvegas’ James Allen. Indeed, as the deceptively lightweight opening verse swells into a sweeping, string-laden chorus, it is difficult not to conclude that Harvieu probably has more in common with Miles Kane or David McAlmont than with the more illustrious company with whom many will seek to group her.
On this form, I don’t doubt that Ren Harvieu will be a contender. Just don’t expect to see teenagers from Daventry to Dumfries lining up to sing her songs to a panel of judges.