Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'm pretending to be a good Fisherman's Woman

There’s something about the notion of the solo artist that intrigues me. While good bands are interesting in that there is usually some sort of chemistry on the live stage and a collaborative creative process that results in a fantastic sound. Obviously there are too many bands who lack this, and many who are really just one creative driving force and a bunch of musicians. But with solo singer-songwriters, all the focus is one person, the music and creativity comes from one enigmatic soul. Increasingly, I’ve been listening to more and more singer-songwriters. Maybe I’m getting older and wearier, and wanting something a bit more chilled, or maybe, as my twentieth birthday approaches, I am wanting something more, another level, from my music.

Emiliana Torrini is something more. Not necessarily as deep and dark as PJ Harvey, or as tortured as Conor Oberst, or as musically genius as Patrick Wolf, Emiliana’s gold card is her loveliness. Loveliness is a double edged sword. One (should they be that way inclined) may describe Dido as LAAAVELY, but this might be the same person who would describe Alanis Morissette as enigmatic, and so are clearly devoid of reason. No, Emiliana Torrini’s new album, Fisherman’s Woman, is just lovely. It’s all clean plucked acoustic guitars, her wispy, soft, Icelandic-accentuated voice, and some of the satisfying gorgeous chord changes known to the genre of folk. It is the soundtrack to a summer, late nights, midnight skies, red wine, being carefree. It could all be very clichéd, but it isn’t. Listening to the album and writing about it is one of the only things that alleviates the stress of exams, it’s like it doesn’t even matter.

But as well as all the aforementioned loveliness, there is a tinge of sadness. Like Mrs Dalloway contemplating jumping off the balcony, there is an element of edge: the thin line between elation and desperation. It’s subtle: you could be lost in her enchanting voice, but hints of desperation in songs like “Today has been ok”, but it is more wistful really. Emiliana creates fantastic characters, like in the title track, where she is a fisherman’s wife, waiting for her fisherman by the window with the brightest red lipstick on her lips. It’s intoxicating stuff. Live, she is even more intoxicating. In true folk style there were candles burning, floaty fabrics (FIRE HAZARD AHOY!), and stories behind every song. It was more intimate than you could imagine, and every single person in the sold-out crowd left with an infallible grin on their face. Her single, SunnyRoad, just has that affect on people: bittersweet, wistful, a tale of unrequited young love with which many could empathise and about which the rest could fantasise. Word of the loveliness of the album is mainly being spread by word of mouth and gleaming reviews, so let’s hope it becomes the hit it deserves to be. And hopefully we won’t have to wait another 6 years for the next one!

In other news, abstractboy.blogspot is one year old today!

posted by Robbie de Santos at 4/21/2005 11:31:00 am


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