Dutch singer and songwriter Amber Arcades has kind of a neat backstory. During her teenage years, Annelotte de Graaf put aside some money with plans of eventually making an album. While working in her native Utrecht's immigration centre as a legal aide for Syrian refugees, she self-released a few EPs and continued honing her musical abilities. When she finally felt the time had come to record a proper album, she got in touch with producer Ben Greenberg (Destruction Unit and The Men) who agreed to work with her. de Graaf then spent her life savings and made the trip to New York where they assembled a pretty impressive backing band featuring Quilt's Shane Butler and Keven Lareau, and Real Estate drummer Jackson Pollis.

The de Graaf-Greenberg collaboration might have seemed an odd choice in print, but the end result, Fading Lines, was ten songs of smartly crafted guitar-pop whose sound was rich, sophisticated, and radio-friendly, but without being overly fussy. Coming one year later, her new five song Cannonball EP doesn't deviate all that much from Fading Lines, essentially picking up where that album left off. What it does do though is demonstrate her continual growth as a musician. The propulsive and soaring lead single 'It Changes' makes for one of the most infectious pop songs de Graaf has written so far, and her cover of the Nick Drake song 'Which Will', from his rightfully celebrated Pink Moon album, runs a close second. Here, she takes the restrained and aching beauty of the original and transforms it into a shimmering and buoyant pop song, while still managing to retain the fragility of the original. From there the tempos gradually slow, with the Bill Ryder-Jones duet 'Wouldn’t Even Know' bridging the gap between the more uptempo numbers and the gorgeous drone of 'Can't Say That I Tried', and the skeletal girl-group sway of the title-track, which recalls Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain.

Recorded over a two day period in New York last September, Cannonball doesn't feel all that loose or tossed off, but the music definitely possesses a lively spirit and even the slower songs brim with energy. As a stand-alone document it holds up just fine on its own and it offers a further glimpse of a promising new artist on the rise.