After rising to the spotlight in the 2011 X Factor series with her awkward, charming rendition of Elton John’s “Love Song,” 16-year-old Irish singer Janet Devlin won the audience over with her quirky image, shy personality, and fascinatingly whimsical voice. Despite leaving the show after a series of nervous breakdowns and clashes with the producers’ visions for her performances, Devlin has been extremely busy releasing a debut album and touring all throughout the UK, and more recently, dropping her second EP, Duvet Daze.
The short album consists of four covers, stripped back, and hugely representative of Devlin’s ethereal vocals. It reverts to the much more acoustic-based sound she proved she was more than capable of during her X Factor days, and sees her thankfully take a step away from the often over-produced sound of her previous full-length release, Running With Scissors (2014).
However, while this allows Devlin to fully develop and focus on the element of her artistry that makes her stand apart from the rest—her voice—the result is one of the most uninteresting albums to be released this year. Instead of burdening her voice with the weight of multiple instruments, it is allowed to shine through the almost elementary guitar and harp strums.
Opening with Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire”—Devlin incorporates an Irish flute in the background that somehow works—she pays homage to her roots. “I’m Not In Love” is an extremely stripped-back track consisting of not much more than a picked guitar and her voice. Surprisingly, Devlin pulls off a mature cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” and while it serves as a nice listen, it fails to fully grasp the emotional aspect of the song that Cyrus’ does.
Devlin is good, but Duvet Daze doesn’t allow her to explore the vocal abilities that she possesses. It’s just four songs to half listen to in the background while falling asleep in some sort of lodge in the middle of the woods. Duvet Daze is much more of a summary of her persona as opposed to a further development of it.