R’N’B artist Scarlet Baxter may have only arrived on the scene last year, but she was certainly no stranger to the world of music beforehand. Winning her first performance contest when she was just fourteen, she went on to train in the art of musical theatre which helped her to build up her confidence from a relatively young age.

Her 2014 debut single, “Backsliding”, brought with it plenty of success, catching the attention of BBC Introducing and having clocked up more than 46,000 views on YouTube to date. Not content to sit still, the songstress followed it up with “Stuck” earlier this year and is now back again with her latest offering, “Cruel Love”.

Beginning with dire piano keys and a funky electronic beat ahead of a hushed harmony, the new song slowly increases in volume and expression. As it moves steadily in the direction of a resonant and captivating chorus, the instrumentation stays subtle as the vocals hit hard with their immense power.

The pace accelerates going into the second verse, while the mood remains mellow and sobering. There’s something irresistibly absorbing about the way in which the melody conveys so much passion and enthusiasm, despite its whispered delivery. The shattering percussion that sets in around the halfway point keeps things dramatic on the approach to the last minute. It all culminates in one final mesmerising display of vibrant vocals and raw emotion, resulting in a cutting climax.

Scarlet Baxter’s effort here is one that lingers in the mind long after listening. It’s a cool and collected composition, whose self-assured attitude and affective execution make for a truly arresting experience. “Cruel Love” is available for pre-order from iTunes now.

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Graduate of NUI Maynooth's Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there's anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it's writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com