Sometimes the truth bites, and London singer-songwriter Helen Dooley (The Cheek of Her) grabs at the sweetness between the bitter, though never refrains from reflecting the world as honestly as she sees it. Her vocal skills are well-represented on the layered nature of “9 Lives”, the lead single from The Cheek of Her’s latest EP, Black Heart Mantra. The sweetness of the harmonies is balanced by an edge in the lyrics. Fittingly, the video — created by Pedro Chaves of Dream Journey Studios — features an animated doomed cat whose insistence on chasing an animated bird through the streets of reality only brings death, death, and more death.
The rest of the EP features Dooley’s piano and vocal talents to create big sound out of simpler soundscapes. “Give Up The Ghost” has an anthemic quality with real hit potential while “The Future is Purple” plays with energy by employing a false ending that reminds you who’s in charge (hint: it’s Helen Dooley). I’ll admit to feeling wary of a song titled “YOLO” (expecting, perhaps, a party anthem of some sort), but the track has great depth and an optimistic message. In the end, the title track feels the most personal. There’s an anger underneath that feels developed, and the track is well worthy of the name “Black Heart Mantra”.