Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Alison Faith Levy|
The Fog Show
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Loud Family keboradist Alison Fiath Levy's first solo full-length release. A collection of melancholy ballads presented as duets between her stunning piano and vocals with one other instument. Beautiful, powerful and uniqu... more »
Loud Family keboradist Alison Fiath Levy's first solo full-length release. A collection of melancholy ballads presented as duets between her stunning piano and vocals with one other instument. Beautiful, powerful and unique, it's like a combination of Dustry Springfield and Mark Eitzel.
I found that the album really stirred something in me...
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The lyrics and melodies are engaging. I was really moved by this album"
Solo singer-songwriter's full-length debut
John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 01/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For many years I had been looking for a copy. I am a long-time fan from the beginning of Game Theory and The Loud Family, and I admire Alison Faith Levy's vocal and keyboard contributions to LF's final two albums, "Days for Days" and "Attractive Nuisance." Her two songs on AN led me to expect an earthier, more soulful singing style than Miller's "usual obnoxious whine," as he once credited himself on an album. Even though her kind of solitary, melancholy, and nakedly emotional music is not otherwise found among my thousands of records, I was impressed by her skills on the two LF records, so I wanted to find out more about her own solo efforts. I finally hunted down a copy, being lately on a steady diet of Miller's music thanks to new headphones-- the way to hear GT and LF.
While this handsome disc, with clever cover art and a cast of fellow San Francisco & Bay Area alt-rock cognoscenti as support musicians, did not veer drastically in other directions, "The Fog Show" definitely is a one-woman singer-songwriter album. Levy's piano is accompanied by a single and a different instrument, from a different musician per track. Some tracks feature no vocals. Yet, these were my favorites-- especially the simple, dignified classical piece with woodwinds.
I like this sort of discipline. It worked well for "Days for Days," perhaps not coincidentally Levy's début with LF and a significant upgrade in that band's performing craft and arranging prowess. "The Fog Show" also adds variety (if not enough for my eclectic ears) where it's needed. The challenge with this type of genre, at least for me-- I tend never to listen to this kind of record!-- is to keep the piano-voice pairing from becoming monotonous. Levy's voice conveys emotion in a nearly conversational tone, and she tends not to draw attention to her vocals except when drawing out a word into a ooh-wah-ooh type of flourish that needs to be used very sparingly for effect. You do feel the intimacy of her delivery, and this works to her advantage thanks to her honesty.
The lyrics, which on the first few songs wandered around such topics as the dermatological effects of prolonged bathing, Icarus' fate, and the x-ray superpower capabilities as compared with those of a former and closely scrutinizing lover, strive to offer fresh images. They keep Levy focused on her own personality. She tries to get herself across rather than imitating another singer's attitude or another musician's style. I admire this confidence.
So, while this music does veer towards the dreadful sin of similarity from track to track, Levy-- aware of this danger-- takes pains to distance herself from her own piano-voice pairing by matching the songs with other instruments and other talents. A smart move. The Waterdog song and a couple of torchier ballads tend to go on past their welcome and then come back and repeat the whole set of verses and accompaniments again. I grew tired of this unpredictability. I like to be thrown off guard if there's a payoff, but the ambling nature of a few songs here did not take me down rewarding byways. These seemed more to go in a circle. While intellectually I recognize Levy's determination to present her emotional trauma through the thoughtful narratives she creates, the songs themselves became more than once too languid and repetitive. However, I admit that my tastes turn towards music with different conventions and less forthright emotion, so take my criticism accordingly and adjust it for your own preferences.
This is a modestly produced (and "sequenced" by Jonathan Segal of Camper Van Beethoven, Monks of Doom and other NoCal projects-- she and he partnered also in Dent), yet assertive, display of her abilities. An out-of-print record (which goes for a high price) seems to have partnered her with a rootsier singer, Dale Griffin, from what the song list appears to be American bluesier songs from way back. She has followed "The Fog Show" with her song collection "My World View," (which I bought today!) and preceded this with the wonderfully titled e.p. "Grumbelina." She also contributed to the Scott Miller-Anton Barbeau "What If It Works?" album in 2006 half-credited to LF (members come and go on some tracks)-- but this record unfortunately features Levy far too infrequently."