Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Sterre Weldring: “Hope And The Aftermath” (2023) CD Review

Sterre Weldring is a singer and songwriter based in Amsterdam. In 2021, she released her debut EP, Lost Lights, which contained all original material. Since then, she has put out a few singles, and now has released her second EP. Titled Hope And The Aftermath, this one also features all original material, written or co-written by Sterre Weldring. On these tracks, she provides both lead and backing vocals, and plays acoustic guitar. Joining her are Daan van Zelm on electric guitar, Jens Wierckx on drums, Thijs van Zutphen on bass, Machiel de Vries on keys, and Willem van der Weide on strings. Daan van Zelm and Machiel de Vries had also played on Lost Lights. The songs on this album are about coping with those feelings of loss and despondency at the end of a relationship, and the hope of something new. The songs feel personal and true, making them all the more powerful.

We are both lost,” Sterre Weldring sings as the first track, “Both Lost,” begins. It is a striking moment to open the album. “Silence is what I’m used to/You gave me the opposite/Maybe that’s why I first came on so strong,” she then sings, her voice now backed mainly by acoustic guitar. The song then builds again to the chorus, returning us to the energy of that opening line. Her delivery is excellent. There is anger and sadness there, and resilience, and it is that resilience which is perhaps the most powerful quality, the driving quality. The sound combines folk and pop elements. That is followed by “Troubled,” which was released as a single late last year. It begins gently on acoustic guitar, and her first lines are delivered with an intimacy: “Don’t you come close to me/I have been here before and I’ve seen/What has come from it.” The sound gradually grows in power and energy as she reveals more about herself. One line that stands out is the question, “Don’t you want to be loved by me?” It is delivered outward, to another person, but you get the sense that the question could also be aimed back at herself, for here she repeats that she is “a little troubled.” It is interesting when that line changes to “I don’t want you to be troubled.” Is she going to deny both herself and the other person the experience out of fear of repeating what has occurred before?  This is a compelling song.

It is the electric guitar that begins “Never Your Name,” this one was written by Sterre Weldring and Sven Reus. It deals with the end of a relationship and trying to move on. “And now anywhere I go, everything reminds me of you/And I don’t want to show my mind is still stuck on you/Stuck on you.” She gives us another strong and honest vocal performance. “The Aftermath” was also written by Sterre Weldring and Sven Reus. It has a beautiful and haunting sound as it begins, an atmosphere of melancholy and loneliness, as she looks back. “I had hope, but this is the aftermath.” The song then kicks in, and she promises herself, “I’m never gonna run back to you.” Another line that stands out for me is “But the need for love still gave me faith.” This beautiful track makes excellent use of percussion. The EP concludes with “Hurtful.” That vocal work at the beginning has an ethereal quality, and is soothing. “No  more trust in you, and I’m not surprised/I’m the cause of it, aren’t I?/Please consider my side though/I thought you’d treat me right.” This song has a late-night feel about it, when the world is dark and our wounds are visible only to ourselves. And once again Sterre Weldring’s vocal performance is striking, and is at the center of this song, supported by some nice guitar work. “Now I struggle to believe there’s still good in us/Oh, I never thought I’d fear all the hurt you would cause.”

CD Track List

  1. Both Lost
  2. Troubled
  3. Never Your Name
  4. The Aftermath
  5. Hurtful

Hope And The Aftermath was released on October 13, 2023 on Revanche Records.

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