Monday 17 October 2011

Girl Singer

Girl Singer
Tell Her What She’s Won
It’s 15 long years since singer Carolyn Wennblom released her only album, Bees to the Honey, one of the most underrated delights to emerge from Seattle in the ‘90s. But now there’s a chance to rejoice as she’s back, this time as part of the band Girl Singer. And make no mistake, this really is a band, not a vehicle for her. The four-piece, which includes two members of the Walkabouts (and, interestingly the song Injury Wants An Encore sounds like it could have been taken from the Walks’ songbook), is a tight, thoughtful unit, which suits the moody, enigmatic material. Wennblom’s voice has taken on more of a velvet quality with time, but still wonderfully elusive, and the other players (plus a few guests) give the ideal framing for each one, whether it’s the soft drive that propels Start It All Over or the drone of the opener, Coming Around. It’s an album born of maturity, the emotions and situations never clear-cut, the emotions in shades of grey rather than black and white, the music considered. It is what it is, with no compromises for commerciality, but always deliciously listenable, and worth hearing again and again. The production, too, is beautifully realised, smooth without being slick, and great attention to details in the sound. The thing to hope for is that it’s not a decade and a half until we hear from them on disc again. One of 2011’s superb discs.

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