Archive for April, 2013

daughter

Why So Pale and Wan?

This is a record which was never going to set your pulse racing. In fact it is far more suited for wafting round the house or for suffering from a nasty dose of unrequited love. The landscapes of the London trio’s first album are certainly starkly beautiful yet the lyrics show us far darker places. The album starts with a minor discord before singer/guitarist Ellena Tonra’s soothing voice lulls us and deceives us, ‘I needed you to run through my veins like disease’. There is a resonance of Florence in that first track, Winter, which thankfully this fails to re-appear in the rest of the album. Tonra’s voice is far more fragile and subtly haunting than that.

The album’s instrumentation which comprises of Elena and Igor Haefeli’s shimmering guitars and Remi Aguilella’s suppressed drumming is mostly shrouded in reverb and it is not until the eighth track that we hear anything as prosaic as a snare drum. This is all well and good but sometimes you just want them to let go and reward you with something normal like a crash cymbal (one that isn’t going backwards that is). This is especially true with Youth, which is probably the strongest track on the album but one which finally disappoints when it builds and builds but doesn’t quite deliver the goods in the end.

I really like this album, it is beautiful and I will play it a lot. But you get the impression there are some much bigger songs that want to get out.

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Hawthorne&Child

Well I enjoyed reading this book immensely but I really haven’t got a clue what the hell it was about. It masquerades as a novel but basically it is a collection of short stories.  It starts off (and finishes) well, with Hawthorne and Child racing to a call-out, but the intervening chapters veer off in wildly different directions.  All the time you feel that the characters and stories are connected but you can’t really put your finger on what it is that links them.

The writing is both in-your-face and arrestingly beautiful at the same time.  The voices of some of the madder characters were truly haunting, and in places it moved me a lot. But when I finished, I felt like I’d woken up after some crazy drunken night out. One where you managed to make it safely home but you haven’t got the foggiest idea how.