An unassuming, poetic collection of songs that ruminate on the shifting nature of love, Essex-based songwriter Beckie Margaret’s latest EP CIAGA Vol.1 is a carefully crafted and deeply affecting listen. Released via Cool Thing Records, the EP (the first of three which are set to be released over the next 9 months) beautifully showcases a young woman learning how to fully express her feelings, and not shying away from the pain or frustration that often accompanies this process.
Through her emotive lyrics, distinctive vocals and tender, melodic guitar sounds, Beckie gently exposes her most intimate and passionate thoughts across the record, learning to trust her instincts when it comes to romantic infatuation. “This EP is cut down to the bone of my writing roots,” she explains about CIAGA Vol.1. “I wanted to reintroduce myself to the world with songs that feel like diary entries to me.”
This reintroduction begins with ‘Untitled’, which explores the feeling of not knowing where you stand with someone. The track’s opening lines bring the rawness of this emotional imbalance to life: “I just wanna know where your head’s been running to all week / I wanna hear what you said to the boys about me.” She offsets these unsettling thoughts with her confessional chorus: “I don’t need someone to complete me / and I don’t need a hand to guide me / but your fingers tracing down my body / are all I’ve ever really wanted.” Despite a natural yearning for true intimacy, she gently nudges listeners towards accepting that it’s better to be happy in your own company, than spend time with someone who doesn’t reciprocate your affection.
Beckie’s effortless, intuitive vocal is the lifeblood of CIAGA Vol.1, and something which truly shines on ‘Woman’. This coming-of-age tale is laced with lilting, atmospheric guitar strokes that resonate long after repeated listens. ‘August Nights’ flows in a similar vein, with the added sound of rainfall gently evoking the lonely atmosphere that inspired the track’s conception. Both songs shimmer with a palpable sense of urgency.
Whilst Beckie cites Phoebe Bridgers, Big Thief and Lana Del Rey as musical inspirations, there’s something Jeff Buckley-like in the guitar tones of closing track ‘Come Down’. “My skin doesn’t fit me” she admits, musing about the lows that follow the overwhelming highs of infatuation. As with all of the songs on CIAGA Vol.1, there’s a hard won emotional resilience underpinning the sentiments in Beckie’s lyrics; ambiguous enough to appeal to everyone, but heartfelt enough to cut through to the right listener.
A gifted songwriter with an achingly pure sound, Beckie Margaret’s CIAGA Vol.1 is a return to form for the Essex-based musician. Nothing feels forced, and there’s an impressive emotional maturity permeating all of the songs on the record. We can’t wait to hear what Vol.2 sounds like.
Listen to CIAGA.Vol.1 here
Photo Credit: Beckie Margaret