A large and daring leap away from her dance and rock solo roots, Kelli Ali discovers medieval folk on her latest and third album, Rocking Horse. Vocally, this has to be Ali's finest moment yet and a far cry from her aggressive stance of yesteryear with trip hop/ rock band Sneaker Pimps (Becoming X, Spin, Spin, Sugar).
To truly enjoy this LP you must first shake off connotations of T-mobile hold music or generic 'girl and guitar' pop (cue Katie Melua, Adele, Duffy). Listen a little harder and you'll unearth a haunting vocal, complimented by beautiful, simple instrumentation.
Opener Dancing Bears (the T-mobile-esque number) is bound to fly high on the waves of radio and may be pleasant on the average Joe's ear but Ali has far better up her sleeve than this easy listener. One Day At A Time is next up and swiftly blows its predecessor away. Magical and eerie, Ali's vocal is faultless as it wavers above a simple guitar and sensitive chords.
Another massive standout has to be Heavens Door. With its dazzling, catchy, feel-good melody and contrasting, melancholy lyrics, this could easily become a top ten contender.
Inspired by Kelli Ali's "nomadic" journey across California and Mexico, Rocking Horse has clear undertones of self-discovery, spirituality and adventure. Urique, for instance, (penned in a Mexican canyon after Ali hitched a ride with a meth-addicted trucker) opens with the lyrics: "Losing your way is easy/ Can't see the road through the trees/ I don't mind if you're lost too/ Take my hand/ We'll be lost together". Don't let all that emotion scare you away though. There's enough beautiful music (courtesy of traditional instruments like the cello, viola and flute) to woo even the hardiest soul --Elle J Small
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1. Dancing Bears
2. One Day At A Time
3. The Savages
4. Heaven's Door
6. Rocking Horse
7. September Sky
8. A Storm In A Teacup
9. The Kiss
11. Water Under The Bridge
12. What To Do
13. The Kiss Epilogue