Monday 25 March 2013

Review: Clara Engel - 'The Lovebird’s Throat'

'The Lovebird's Throat'

The listener is not so much a listening to a performance on The Lovebird’s Throat, but has snuck unseen into Clara Engel's secret garden to witness the the quiet wonder of her creations blooming. Her voice expresses vulnerability while revealing great confidence at the center. The production, though immaculate, is uncommonly organic. There is an economy of writing and arrangement that shows Clara Engel has confidence in her art that her performance and skills fully justify. The songs lead the dance with arrangements and production providing the perfect space for the songs to inhabit.

Opening track Not Knowing starts with a vocal and guitar that unfolds its restrained though heartfelt expression of uncertainty and melancholy coupled with a note of hope. The singer and her song laid bare both unadorned and unaffected. Song To The Sea Witch (Disembody My Voice) has a feel of old world narrative balladry and a more layered instrumentation than the opening track. The intensity builds so subtly one is swept away into it undertow before one knows it.

Married To The Bone announces itself with an a capella vocal strong in it's declarative bluesy inflection.  Instruments come in with a drone and heartbeat of percussion that weaves a spell that seduces along with repeated phrases. Lovebirds completes this cycle with a psychedelic undertone and lyrics rich in vivid imagery. As with every track on this release, each part of the performance adds its essential part and nothing more.

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