Birdy – Birdy (Atlantic)

She’s from Hampshire, she won the Open Mic UK competition in 2008 against 10,000 other competitors, she’s performed on the Ellen Degeneres show, she sounds a little like Florence and The Machine, she’s just released her first album, and she’s only 15. Jasmine van den Bogaerde, AKA Birdy, provides her older-than-her-years vocals on her debut album of ten covers and one original.

This record would be a great gift for cool mums, and could be turned into a ‘Face the Music’-esque game at coffee group, with a shot of espresso knocked back for each correct guess. Bon Iver? Fleet Foxes? The XX? The National? James Taylor? The Naked and Famous? All correct, and all accompanied by lovely inoffensive piano.

Birdy has certainly stirred up some debate in the blogosphere. Probably because she’s pitched herself to adults rather than to other teens, opinion is divided as to whether she’s a precocious talent, a Madman’s marketing experiment, a musical abomination or a musical genius. Perhaps she’s all of the above. The album is certainly samey, mumsy, and lacking the verve of her peers One Direction and Justin Bieber. On the other hand, this is an exceptionally accomplished debut from a 15 year old. With any luck we will hear from Birdy again in a couple of years, and by then she may be more than just a pretty voice.

Kathryn van Beek

Click here to listen to Young Blood from Birdy