ELIZA DOOLITTLE, Islington Assembly Hall – Evening Standard, 31 July 2013

Eliza Doolittle made her live comeback in front of a backdrop bearing her first name in thick capital letters. On the brink of releasing her second album after a lightweight debut, this is the moment when she could become so famous that she doesn’t need a surname, like Adele or Florence, or watch the whole of that Pygmalion pen name be forgotten fast.

Previously known as a Lily Allen with extra lemonade, who uses words like “bum”, “tummy” and “cuddle” in her lyrics, she appears to be carrying on as normal with her new single, out this week. Big When I Was Little is a jolly roll call of Nineties references from the Spice Girls to cassette singles, here delivered without its summery horns, although her new band ably found its swing.

It was a dummy run, however, for a set of new songs that deal with a major break-up and attempt to find some gravitas amid all that whistling. She performed her recent dance hit with Disclosure, You & Me, alone at the piano, emoting all over the place and proving what a fine singer she is with a graceful shift into falsetto when required.

In Your Hands, which she revealed is her October album’s title, was very different, with electronic drums and a powerful chorus. “Follow me on my journey,” she urged the crowd. Let’s hope for her sake they do.