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5.0 out of 5 stars A musical gem, 5 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Ornate Lie (Audio CD)
Album Review

Kim Edgar - "The Ornate Lie"

Edinburgh-based songer-songwriter and pianist Kim Edgar's music engages the head and the heart. Many of her songs take the form of imaginative short stories or vignettes, creating imagery which, like her strong melodies, linger in the mind. The songs have an admirable honesty, courage and integrity. The delicacy of Kim's singing voice, with pleasing traces of her Scots accent, serves only to underline its strength, warmth and clarity of expression.

Kim Edgar's second album, "The Ornate Lie", represents a step-change in her musical development. This album connected with me instantly and it continues to captivate me each time I hear it. It is beautifully textured, balanced and coherent - each of the twelve songs is a mini-masterpiece with its own identity and yet they all fit together to create something magical which is even more than the sum of its parts. Kim's vocals and signature piano work are central to most of the songs and her strings and brass arrangements, enhanced by a stellar cast of musicians and singers, add subtle splashes of colour to her broad musical palette.

"The Ornate Lie" is a richly diverse collection of songs, with dramatic changes of tempo and mood, sometimes within the same song. Kim Edgar's voice soothes or challenges, as the songs demand, while her piano similarly ripples, glides, soars or pounds rhythmically, as necessary. The album begins with four engaging and thought-provoking songs in "A Poppy Blossoms"; "Not For Sharing"; "The Ornate Lie"; and "Walls". Co-written with Karine Polwart and Kenny Anderson (a.k.a. King Creosote) - two of Kim's collaborators in the `occasional' band, The Burns Unit - "Blood, Ice and Ashes" is a magnificently brooding and cathartic tale of revenge, couched in terms of a nightmarish fairy tale. In contrast, "All The Little Sunbursts" does indeed introduce a ray of sunshine and makes me smile.

My favourite tracks on "The Ornate Lie" change constantly but, if I'm honest (and this may reflect the `old romantic' in me), the songs which tend to stay with me the most are the breathtakingly beautiful quartet of "Hands Held"; "The Steamy Note"; "Ready"; and "A Favour From The Sea". In all of these heartfelt, but never sentimental, songs, Kim's gentle voice tugs at the heart-strings. The ending of "The Steamy Note", where the voices of Kim Edgar and Karine Polwart intertwine to gorgeous effect, is a thing of rare beauty.

Although she is relatively undiscovered as yet, I regard Kim Edgar as one of the brightest gems in Scotland's musical crown. Her musical journey is well worth following and "The Ornate Lie" comes highly recommended.

DAVID FERGUSON
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The Ornate Lie
The Ornate Lie by Kim Edgar (Audio CD - 2012)
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