Following a series of quality single releases, Glaswegian singer-songwriter Lizzie Reid arrives with her debut EP, Cubicle, assembled from a mix of the aforementioned cuts and some gorgeous material fresh for the listener.
Recorded in 10 days at home in Glasgow just before lockdown in March 2020 with producer Oli Barton-Wood, Cubicle is the document of Reid’s first same-sex relationship and carries with it all the intimacy of both its subject matter and the manner in which it was recorded. It charts the relationship from its beginnings to its sad, broken ending, with redemption hard-won and ultimately a sense of peace and perspective. There are miaowing cats (“Seamless”), traffic noises, and the sound of Reid’s breath on the mic. It has a homely beauty that never detracts from the strong writing – rather, it adds to the personal, raw texture.
“Tribute”, with its lilting sad melody, is wonderfully lo-fi, presented here in its original stripped-back demo form, replete with tape hiss and found sounds. “I don’t regret a word that I said when I was in your bed,” she sings over beautifully melancholy guitar – it’s mesmerising. The following “Seamless” is gorgeous, with a simple, softly building arrangement and elegant melody built around Reid’s smoky voice and tremolo-heavy guitar.
Reid’s music is built of raw emotion, elegant melodies, and personal lyrics, but she also finds the joy in experimentation. “Been Thinking About You” is swathed in jazzy guitars and percussion, distortion, and has more ‘production’ with echoey percussion and a stirring climax. The jazzy quality also weaves through the swinging “Company Car”, which features the key line “there’s a million different reasons I wish I could love a man the way I love you.” It’s light, springy, and witty, with overdubbed electric guitar adding to the sonic palette.
“Always Lovely” is at the other end of the spectrum, with its impressionistic quality shining a spotlight on Reid’s guitar work, languorous and intimate. The recording is full of close-miked detail (listen out for the creaking chairs), and the song is beautiful with its low-key precision and Reid’s musical dexterity. Title track and closer, “Cubicle”, finds Reid making peace with the relationship’s end (“I don’t even know you anymore… there’s something kinda sweet about being strangers again”) over lush guitars and cello supplied by her cousin Catriona.
Cubicle is a strong, stirring piece of work that confirms Reid as an exciting songwriting prospect. Collected together, these songs emphasise the power and beauty in everyday moments, and with their low-key unfussiness, they betray a calm confidence. It will be intriguing to see where Reid goes next.