Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
1:00 AM 13th April 2024

Albums: Lyra.

America; Drink Me Up, You, All Over Now; I’ll Always Be The One, Chess, Love Me, Queen, Naked, Loved By U, Lovers, Someone New, Edge of Seventeen (John Gibbins x Lyra)
Label: Rubyworks

Cork’s Laura McNamara is best known to the music world as Lyra. Having steadily built her name on her home scene before undertaking a series of high-profile support slots on tours, Lyra has created a fierce live reputation for her stage presence and versatile vocals. Having garnered comparisons to everyone from Florence Welch to Beyoncé, it is clear that the music press sees huge pop potential, but does her long-awaited eponymous debut album deliver on her live promise?

Opening with the slick America, it is clear that Lyra has the production values to make it on the international stage, but it is with the Rihanna-driven Drink Me Up that the album kicks into fifth gear. Lyra is an artist who wears her influences on her sleeve but never sounds like a copycat. Her captivating vocals shine brilliantly in her former single You, set to ignite dancefloors worldwide.

However, this is an album that boasts a song that will catapult her to stratospheric levels. Naked is a 1990s house energy relaunch. It fits the current global trend but doesn’t lose Lyra’s sense of identity. If it does not become one of this summer’s big anthems, then something has gone wrong with her campaign. Her collaboration with John Gibbons is also impressive. There is an epic reworking of Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen, which the dancefloors will be demanding for many a year.

Although the album is a solid release, to grow as an artist, Lyra needs to extend her lyrical content. While her stories of love and heartbreak certainly connect, she is definitely capable of extending her connection further. With her live presence showing her wit, sharper lyrics would certainly raise her musical presence further.

Lyra delivers a solid debut. This secures her firmly on the map and shows so much potential for ever more greatness.