By Lucy Harte
We Will Need Courage is a diverse debut album from London-based singer-songwriter Lauren Ray. From an international background, Ray has previously worked in the music industry with songwriters for well-known artists such as Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. Her own work, however, has been compared to the likes of Norah Jones – though perhaps a little less country. Short and sweet with a runtime of just 35 minutes, We Will Need Courage manages to still encompass a mixed bag of styles and emotions: anticipation, joy, but also melancholy and frustration.
The album opens with previously released single Drive. A soulful, summery track about a couple discussing the future of their relationship. Their decision ultimately is to “drive, darling, drive” ahead into the unknown together. Ray’s soothing vocals over ambient piano seem to set the rest of the album up to be a peaceful, laidback one: an expectation soon to be broken.
The fourth track Paying for Love brings about a change in tone. Through a song filled with frustration and pain, the more dynamic Ray starts to show her colours. Contrasted with other tracks like the upbeat, country style of One of the Lucky Ones, the album’s second half begins to morph into a diverse medley of genres. These tracks seem to showcase her talent far more than their predecessors. One example of this is Man, in which Ray’s vocal prowess is shown the most. Despite some slightly awkward-sounding lyrics, Lauren Ray’s powerful vocals, accompanied by a moody piano refrain, show through strongest in this song’s chorus.
Get on Board is definitely the most interesting song on We Will Need Courage, and a personal favourite. The subtle yet lively electric organ and sassy vocals remind the listener of something that would be performed in a classy cabaret bar. Ray’s work on this album is certainly best during her more energetic tracks.
Ultimately, We Will Need Courage is a promising debut album for the singer songwriter. Ray’s voice and writing successfully incorporate a variety of styles, and though the livelier songs on the album show her talent best, more subdued tracks like Come to Me and Drive still manage to get stuck in your head.
We Will Need Courage released 1st July, available to order via Amazon