When receiving an email that just says ‘I’m starting Forest Fires’, we imagine most people will call the authorities and try to avert a disaster. We’re not wired that way (we’re not 100% sure if that’s a good thing or not actually) and instead we thought, ‘oooh, sounds interesting, what does this link do?’. Thankfully this was not a cry for help, or a random warning of a forthcoming act of arson, no, it was an email from an 18 year old singer songwriter from Windsor and the link was to a heavenly and heavily emotive piano ballad that hit us like a sledgehammer to the soul.
Lauren Aquilina is quite the prodigious talent, having already headlined the BBC Introducing stage at last year’s Reading festival, she has just released her third EP, Liars – which followed Fools and Sinners previously. She also has quite the voice, as she showed all the way back in 2011 with her rich and delicate cover of Oleta Adams’ ”Get Here”. Now, with “Forest Fires”, she’s released a track that will bring a tear to your eye.
Simple, elegant and so very poignant, “Forest Fires” is a tale for the silent masses that suffer day in, day out, fighting a battle with our own psyche that we can never win. For each of us who think so little of ourselves that we are convinced the world thinks even less, yet paradoxically can only ever believe that the pain or anguish of a loved one is our fault. It is for those of us who have no sense of self belief or self worth, so we just sit and watch as our world crumbles around us.
Normally at this point we would be espousing imagery and visual metaphors for the song we were writing about. We could do that here, we could say something about it being like a vast empty room, bathed in darkness and that Lauren’s voice soars and cracks in equal measure, heavy with emotion and torment like a single beam of light, broken by dust and splinters of wood in the roof, shining down on a lonely figure.
We could do this, and really we just did, but actually for once, we just want you to listen to the song. Honestly, it might not do anything for you, it might not be your thing at all and that is fine. But it hit a nerve here and as Lauren sings the faint, brittle coda of ”who would ever want to be around me?”, we could feel our heart breaking.