North England sensation NATALIE MCCOOL has crept up on us slowly but surely, well and truly bowling us over with her tightly constructed songs, hard-hitting yet tender lyrics, striking vocals and musical arrangements. And I’m not the only one in love with her recent “Dust & Coal,” among other tracks off her recently released eponymous debut album.

Though she’s been compared to many an established female singer-songwriter, Natalie has firmly planted her individual stamp on each and every song, and was recently supported by the likes of NADINE CARINA and BIRD at her album launch in Liverpool. Recorded, there’s definitely an of-another-era feel to her music, with great depth and mix of melancholy and angst in her lyrics and sounds, and multi-instrumental aspects that are greatly appreciated.

I have yet to experience her live, which is why I’m here at Leaf as part of the Liverpool Sound City festival. I’m pleased to see that she is with full band, including two drummers, no less (one female drummer, whoop).

With what looks like a bleached-out fringe, I see that Natalie’s on another image switch and I like this one. In a shimmering black lace outfit, she’s looking stunning and the sounds match the slickness as the band strike into their first track. A powerful energy projects from the stage and the crowds are immediately captivated. This is a very professionally tuned band. There’s something slightly Kate Bush about Natalie’s vocals at points, and she has a lot of power in those lungs, to boot. The pumping drum beats complement the guitar and bass strokes and I’m more than a little impressed by the cohesiveness of this band.

Once she’s cleared thundering track “Thin Air” and the aforementioned “Dust & Coal,” she has us in the palm of her hand. And then she’s off… Natalie McCool is a fantastic songwriter, and given some time to evolve her styling and musical direction, it’s surely a matter of time before the rest of the world takes note that she’s a music legend in the making.