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British singer Laurel on her summer reading picks and the poetry that inspired her new EP

WORDS BY JULIETTE CAPOMOLLA

Welcoming a new sound.

British indie-pop musician Laurel has just released her new EP Petrol Bloom. This new collection of plush synth-pop music marks a shift in the singer’s sound, after a year of personal changes and growth.

Picture this: you’re in a 1982 Jeep Scrambler, driving through the heart of the American West, sitting next to your significant other, feeling inspired. Well, that was Laurel when she established the foundations of Petrol Bloom, and it’s that sense of freedom which permeates her music.

She also took inspiration from Charles Bukowski’s book, Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. As a poet, songwriter and author herself, it’s not really surprising that books act as a muse for Laurel – just take a peek at her bookshelf and you can see that she likes a good book or two.

With this in mind, I spoke with Laurel about her top five books for the summer and Bukowski’s poetry, and she gave me a glimpse of her aesthetically pleasing book collection.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I love this book so much. It’s quite dark, but in a lighthearted sort of way. The main character’s voice stays with you long after you’ve read it. I find myself writing like him in my journal. Repeating the phrase ‘God Damn’ and wondering how this has become such a common part of my vocabulary. 

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame by Charles Bukowski

I saw this on a friend’s coffee table in LA and was instantly pulled to its bright orange colour. Then the title, which has had a big influence on the titling of my two-part EP project: [the first part, out now] Petrol Bloom representing the first half [of the title] ‘Burning in Water’. Charles Bukowski’s poetry is timeless and real. He shows the romanticism in the mundane. When I read it, it makes me reminisce about Los Angeles.

City Of Spiders by Maxime Imbert 

This is a friend of mine’s photobook. It’s extremely intimate and ardently beautiful. I love having a book like this to sift through next to my sofa, it gives me a flicker of inspiration when I’m slumped there in the middle of the day, wishing it was time to get in bed already.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith 

Zadie’s writing is just perfect to me. I want to write every sentence down in my journal and keep them forever. The characters are so vivid you think you might have met them before, and it’s overwhelmingly sad when you finish and can’t have a cup of coffee with them in the mornings anymore.

The Mutterings of a Laurel by Laurel

Perhaps self-indulgent to include my own book, but I feel that I cannot do a book review without including it. This is one of the most precious things that belongs to me. I had dreamed of having my own book printed, and to hold it in my hands was unbelievable – I still get a little rush when I look through the pages. It’s a diary of self-exploration and finding yourself. Writing the book helped me through a difficult stage in life, and publishing it helped me release those feelings and memories into the world freely and let go of them.

Follow Laurel here and listen to her new EP Petrol Bloom here.

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