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The highly prolific singer-songwriter's seventh studio album (an amazing achievement for someone who is only 26) is also her first for the Sanctuary label. The Oxfordshire-born singer/songwriter has been compared to everyone from Joni Mitchell to Ryan Adams and Tom Waits, and counts Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and Martha Wainright among her famous fans. The UK press rave! Uncut says "the best singer/songwriter of the last ten years... and then some". The Independent pronounces her "the most prolific and intelligent wordsmith of her generation" while Mojo claims she is "deceptively populist and deceitfully dark". Q thinks "Britain has spawned very few world class female singer-songwriters, but Gilmore is already in a league of her own" while The Observer enumerates that she is "vituperative, intelligent and sharp as a tack".
Top Customer Reviews
Thea Gilmore started out releasing masterpieces, and since then each successive album just gets better and better. Her reviewers have already exhausted most of the superlatives, but basically Thea is the most commanding, compelling and downright phenomenal songwriter of her generation. And then some. In years to come, this album should be remembered as making all other current singer-songwriters look like the scared kittens they are...hiding behind their psudo-indie posturing crapola, or clinging to their limp faux "no-honestly-I-am-a-folk-singer" marketing, while all the noise they're making sounds just like the rest.
From the churning, goading opening "The Gambler", this album finds Thea at the peak of her incredible powers, spinning-off potent songs like sparks from a Catherine wheel. She moves from "Everybody's Numb"'s laceration of the modern music industry, to the snarling juggernaut of "We Built A Monster, to the harrowing starkness of the drug-addled lovers in "The List", with total mastery and assurance.
Harpo's Ghost is a kaleidoscope of musical styles and roller-coaster emotions; "Red White And Black" is a haunting lullaby spine-tingling modern folk-song lamenting vanishing patriotism; the exhilarating "Call Me Your Darling" is all swirling Hammond and Dylanesque harmonica; "Whistle & Steams" rolls and sighs over a shuffling groove; personal demons are put to rest in "Contessa", a song reminiscent of vintage U2 balladry, with one of Thea's gorgeous melody that is special even by her standards; and finally to the ethereal "Slow Journey", with its angelic backing vocals winding away like smoke through the night sky...
...And then the players all troupe back again for the rousing encoure that is the hidden track, as they pick up their plywood again and learn to sing the blues.
As I say, I don't know how she does it.
The only song which has so far passed by without scoring a deep place in my heart is Whistle And Steam. Otherwise, it's a wonderful work by an exceptionally talented artist.
Reviews seem to have concentrated on Cheap Tricks and Everybodys Numb as being the stand out tracks possibly because they have a fuller sound and fine tracks they are, although We Built a Monster which is a pure rock track and probably least typically Thea is probably the most interesting track.
All in all a fine album and a must for anyone who has appreciated Thea's music to date
Still miles better than other people manage.
Can only hope this is a mere pothole in the road, and not a downturn in her career. Please tell me Thea has not peaked already!
To sum up :: Could (and should) do better!
The album lacks the anger & bite of her earlier work, but she rediscovered these on the far superior "Liejacker"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great album in my opinion. One of Thea's more Rocky full on production albums. Excellent!.... Ok so not so many acoustic ballads this time around... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Dave B
I did not know much of Thea, apart from various great reviews, and took a punt on this. It's a great album that means I will be wisely investing in her other ones. Read morePublished on 4 Jun. 2013 by Oops
This is an at times haunting, elegaic and moving album. Gilmore has a fine ear for lyrics and has a depth to her writing which sticks in the head.Published on 26 Feb. 2010 by Mr. S. P. Gibbons
Fans had high hopes for "Harpo's Ghost": the live previews of the songs sounded brilliant and it was with her biggest label yet, building on the slow-burning success of... Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2009 by Adam K.