Appealingly eclectic songscapes.
lovebeauty | San Diego,CA | 12/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yorkshire born, the 32-year-old daughter of original folk revivalists, Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy unleashes her seventh solo studio album.
Eight years on from her previous album of self-written material, Angels & Cigarettes, Eliza again breaks out of the English tradition she has so peerlessly graced, to record the follow-up.
This is a far bolder, more accomplished Carthy, tackling grander themes, drawing on broader terms of reference, encompassing mariachi trumpets (the deliciously seedy "Mr Magnifico"), jazz, reggae, roots, grunge and music hall.
Scottish singer/songwriter Eddi Reader, the folk duo Martin Green and Spiers & Boden Toby Shippey of Salsa Celica shine among a vast and varied supporting cast, and Carthy's achievement is to make it all sound exquisitely, colourfully and entertainingly natural.
The new album might perplex those in search of 'traditional' folk music.
What you get is chamber orchestra, brash percussion and quirky, assertive vocal harmonies in songs rich in Latin grooves and Caribbean flavours with a rousing, music-hall ambience.
For a folk singer who has in the past belted out traditional songs over drum and bass beats, it's as experimental as you could hope for with its blues, mariachi brass, and squeezebox.
"Two Tears", based on the rhythm of a Sussex waltz and the Tom Waits song "Strange Weather" is less weepy and more defiant. "Oranges and Seasalt", inspired by Forties show tune melodies, is a mischievous paean to getting sozzled on tequila, while 'Mr Magnifico' is a haunting spoken word poem about a flamboyant lothario:
"Mr Magnifico fancies his chances, oh Mr Magnifico practices dances.
Mr Magnifico longs for romances that never end up in champagne.
Oh, how life took a toll on his brain"
Never one to rest on her laurels, this album shows just why she is one of music's, and not just folk's, most important and innovative artists.
Peak of the album: "Mr Magnifico"."
Sarkasti | Disley, Cheshire, United Kingdom | 09/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lovebeauty (see above or below) writes a good and accurate review. Since Eliza may be relatively unknown to American (potential) purchasers, I urge you to take account and buy this album. She is a gifted musician, singer and songwriter and her talent, personality and reputation enable her to attract equally gifted colleagues with whom to record. This album is brave and totally original. The themes are interesting and uplifting, even though most of the songs are about death, frustration and misery, she deals with these topics in a rather jolly way. In the past year only Emilana Torrini's "Love in the time of science" has got more plays on my iPod. Buy them both!"