Catherine Elms – Frustrations

Welsh singer-songwriter, Catherine Elms, has just released her debut single, Frustrations and we’ve been taking a long and detailed listen here at the Send Me Your Ears studio.

Frustrations is a song of injustice. It speaks of inequality and urges the listener to fight for what is right even when they’re fighting alone. Speaking of

Catherine writes from her experiences as a queer working-class woman, for whom these issues are deeply urgent. She explains: “Frustrations explores the feeling of wanting to stand up for what’s right – be it through activism, work, or just in the interactions and little kindnesses in our daily lives – and facing constant opposition. When it all feels impossible or overwhelming, you can get jaded and burned out, but you must dig deep and remind yourself why this matters, and stay connected to your purpose and strive for meaningful change. This song is for those of us who are tired of fighting injustice in a world that wasn’t built for us – but we get up and keep fighting anyway. For those of us who long for something more – for ourselves, for the world, for each other.”

The line; “How long will you try to tell yourself injustice is an acquisition? I will gladly trade my accolades if we can be a revelation“ particularly displays the inner turmoil within the lyrics.

Elms is a self taught pianist who has been working on her music from a very early age, first writing songs about ghost stories and progressing now to songs of her own life and the struggles and frustrations within.

With drums by Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls, the contrasting rhythms and superb toms and cymbal work are to be expected. This is a high class musician that has been brought in to work on this track and Elms is fortunate to have this quality of musician/mentor working with her.

Vocally, Catherine Elms is something special. Her voice in the quieter sections reminded us of Tori Amos. In the more powerful sections there’s just so much angst and passion in her delivery that we wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything was going to be ok!

This is a really promising delivery of a very well written and composed song. With distorted guitars and heavy piano chords leading the instrumentation, Frustrations feels a little like melodic metal in places.

For us, it was the production that lets down this song, which is a real shame because we feel it could affect the recognition that this artist clearly deserves. The track is mostly a mono track with next to no stereo or panning that we could discern. For our ears, there needs to be a considerable amount of frequency balancing to bring this track into line with more commercial releases. There’s very little in the top end of the track, which is a shame because much of the great cymbal work and the air in Catherine’s voice is lost. There needs to be a better balance between top and bottom and the middle frequencies to avoid just a touch of that “telephone” feel in the master. We’d dearly love the opportunity to take a look at re-working this track.

Despite the production of this track, Catherine Elms has written and performed a really superb piece that delivers raw emotion. We’re excited to hear where her career progresses. She has a strong, characterful voice and an important message and we hope to see her go far.