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Holly Macve


Main Stage, 27 Aug

Holly Macve

“My vision was big,” says Brighton-based singer Holly Macve of the road to her second album. “I knew I wanted to do something more expansive than my first record.” With reach, feeling, storytelling power and a stop-you-dead voice, Macve sizes up to that mission boldly on Not The Girl, released through Modern Sky in May 2021. Following on from the rootsy saloon-noir conviction of her 2017 debut, Golden Eagle, Holly sets out for deeper, often darker territory with a firm, unhurried sense of direction on her second record: on all fronts, it’s an album that looks its upscaled ambitions in the eye fearlessly.

For Macve, the combination of influences such as Nancy & Lee with time spent touring helped widen her horizons. “I wasn’t afraid of trying new things, and I wanted to explore sounds and develop my skills in production, composing and engineering. When I wrote the songs on Golden Eagle I had never toured, it was just me in my bedroom playing acoustic guitar. I then got the chance to tour the world with a band and sing with a symphony orchestra [with Mercury Rev in 2017]. My little world grew and I realised there was so much for me to learn about how I can use my skills as a singer and writer. I didn’t want to limit myself – I wanted to push my boundaries.”  

Brave, brooding, and beautiful, Not The Girl is the sound of that confidence in full, spectacular bloom.  

"Holly Macve is a master of immaculate pop finesse, who shows exquisite control over a certain strand of musical history, with songs that go straight to the wretched heart.” Pitchfork

“Where her debut saw Macve largely accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and piano, the arrangements on this follow-up are much more ambitious – the slow-burning country rock of ‘Bird’, the Phi Spector-style drum stomps of ‘Daddy’s Gone’, the lavish strings on ‘Little Lonely Heart’ – but so is Macve’s songwriting, and melodies such as ‘Be My Friend’ and ‘Who Am I’ show that she can go for the Nashville pop jugular.” Uncut

“More widescreen than it’s predecessor ‘Golden Eagle’, the stately Not The Girl refracts Mazzy Star through a Bakersfield lens.” MOJO


Holly Macve on Facebook