Single Review: Mara Simpson 'Keep Holding On'

‘Keep Holding On’ is the first single from Mara Simpson’s upcoming debut album ‘Our Good Sides’. Even though the Brighton-based singer and songwriter has been releasing music since 2013, her debut album took its time. Still, this new single features a nice mix of modern blues and a somewhat folky pop sound already.
Certainly interesting is the song’s story, inspired by Mara Simpson’s time of living in Berlin and the history of the Berlin wall and the people whose lives were affected. The track takes particular interest in  the quite well-known story of Frieda Schulze, a 77 year old German woman, who fled from East Berlin by jumping out of her second floor, apartment window into a rescue net held by West Berlin fire-fighters, shortly after the city (and consequently, her apartment block) was divided by the wall in 1961. Of course, this makes clear that the song has political undertones and is one centred around escapism, solidarity, and hope and similarly, Simpson adds layer on layer to create a quite tense, resilient atmosphere.

Musically the song sounds a bit like Florence Welch being backed by the Byrds but Simpson knows how to use these elements without simply copying somebody else. All in all, ‘Keep Holding On’ is a nice appetizer of what’s to come. Let’s hope the album ‘Our Good Sides’ keeps this high level.

Words of Wolfgang Merx