8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Five star review 10 star album,
This review is from: The Black Swan (Audio CD)
Ok let's get the guest star issue over with first.
Yes they are wyrdy beardie folkies but speaking as one who loves the lysergic twist this is not a bad thing. Beth Orton has a modicum of beatastic fame and has come out the other side relatively unscathed. The Espers crew know how to spook things up deliciously. Love that Cello. Devendra is just Devendra and keeps things mellow, So far so wyrd,
All of this frippery obviously keeps young Bert atuned to the contempoary ether because this is a fine album. The title song is the best one here; it is a belter and stands in my top 5 Bert tunes (I accept I have not heard all of 304 odd or something but a fair smatterring over the years.) Anyway the hairs on my neck tell me it's a goody.
As regards the vocals - they're rough and ready. They do what they say. On "Katie Cruel" Devendra and Beth work magic but if you are expecting precision singing you've come to the wrong CD.
The beauty and strength of this CD is the diversity of tone even if the moods is maintained. I am not a fan generally of guest stars, figuring that they obscure the main event (Come in Carlos Santana) but here they add and compliment - and it works a treat. At times it is a bit like a fab home made compilation. Bert's playing is spot on and joyful - when compared on a a scale of dourness 1-5, Bert usually ranks just below Gordon Brown - but here he must only be a 3.5.
On "Texas Cowboy USA" is a bass driven polemic about Bush Jnr - yes really! Even the his Bobness should cover this. "Magdalina's dance" an instrumental features the banjo and brings to mind Sufjan Stevens - again contemporary stuff that is rooted in the past. What goes around comes around.
Not everyones cup of tea, granted. Not everyone likes and 18 year old malt. That said, can we arrange a whip round for a new set of ears for those who only gave this less than 5 stars?
I commend this CD to the house.