While so many young artists struggle to cultivate a unique musical identity that will stand out from the rest, there are others who can’t be bothered by the charade of it all and simply perform from the heart, letting their raw emotions do all the talking. Katie Mac is a singer and songwriter who fits in the latter category. Judging from her most recent EP Eye to Eye, we see that while the music is not always aesthetically perfect, the Liverpool-based Mac’s writing and delivery carry the three songs and put a decisive stamp on her artistic identification.
The EP begins with the title track, which features a plodding swing feel and Mac’s descriptions of a complicated relationship. In the sweeping chorus, she writes, “I remember the rules / you sat down and told me, ‘if we abide by these, we’ll do fine’ / I remember it well, but momentarily we didn’t see eye to eye.” Aside from some vague references to a spider catching people in its web, Mac gives few details about her specific situation, leaving listeners to infer on their own.
“Drugs and Older Women” follows and finds Mac questioning herself over a desired partner. The song starts mellow, with just guitar arpeggios and understated bass notes under Mac’s words. She reveals how she lets this other person affect her self-esteem, writing, “Those drugs and older women, they make me consider myself as a mistake.” The music then turns up the energy a notch, but Mac’s lyrics remain on the dour side. She later sings, “I walk through the rain and the fog and the cold / where did my positivity vanish to? Without she I can’t cope.” Her demeanor never really improves and she seems to give up in the end with the final words, “What am I supposed to say?”
Mac slows things down to close out Eye to Eye with the gentle guitar picking style on “Night Time.” Here she describes her continued struggles with quieting her active anxieties. With some slightly pitchy delivery, she reveals that sleeping is one of the only times she finds a respite from negativity. In the chorus, her voice flies over the top of the mix as she sings, “It’s fine in the night time / sleep kills a busy mind / but as soon as the sun shines, it returns.” It’s another bluntly honest portrayal of something many of us have experienced, and Mac delivers the message in a way that could not be construed as anything but wholly authentic.
“Night Time” is an apt representation of the EP as a whole. It may not be pristine in its execution, but one can’t help but be drawn into Mac’s words that highlight widespread pains that often go unspoken. Her honesty and emotional delivery are captivating qualities that will attract listeners without any additional gimmicks. For that reason alone, Katie Mac is an artist to follow.