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Rocking Horse CD
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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
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
Decided to do some research and found out Kelli had just recorded and released Rocking Horse.
It has restored my jaded faith in music and would highly recommend it.
How would I describe the music and Kellis' voice - haunting, strange, enigmatic I could go on but the only way to experience it is to listen to the album yourself you will not be disappointed.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I think Ms Ali's songwriting skills continue to grow and her singing, as always, very attractive and expressive. I hope that this album does well, because it deserves to.
I will write more a little later...
Okay, this is a SUPERB album. It is like a collection of Lieder, performed by a chamber music group. Charlotte Gainsbourg did something similar with her very enchanting album, "5:55", and Alison Goldfrapp's "Seventh Tree" ventured, less successfully, I'm afraid to say, into similar teritory.
What is so good about Kelli's album is the feeling of an integral performance - a singer working with a group of acoustic musicians. It all comes together in a very effective and powerful way. You won't hear this music in clubs, unless they are very adventurous clubs, but I think this is the sort of music musicians and singers will want to hear and perform in years to come.
If you've bought "Tigermouth" and "Psychic Cat" (shame on you, if you haven't! ;-) - they are excellent albums), then you will be in for a very pleasant and delightful surprise. Ms Kelli Ali has demonstrated, in a very credible and convincing way, that she is a powerful and important Pop artist in our time. I only hope that Ms Ali tours this album as far as Australia, where I am!
The low-key musical accompaniment, not to mention some strong poetic lyrics, result in some truly beautiful and haunting songs like "One Day at a Time," "Rocking Horse," and the album's big winner "Flowers," while there is a real surprise in the wordless vocalizations of "The Kiss." But while Kelli's personal songwriting skills seem to be maturing, there is still some trouble here with execution. More simplistic tracks like "Urique" and "September Sky" never quite get off the ground, and otherwise successful tracks like "Water Under the Bridge" and "What to Do" build some drama but then end abruptly without fulfilling conclusions. Also, while Kelli is singing with great emotion throughout the album, she sacrifices some grit and authority for a general dependence on her higher and more whispery register. It's hard to say if Kelli will settle into the folk groove after some previous musical dead-ends, but this album finally gets her on the right track, with a great display of her most obvious talents. [~doomsdayer520~]
When everyone expected a trip-hop album, she went pop with Tigermouth.
And Psychic Cat shows how spontaneous she is and how she is willing to try different things.
Rocking Horse is my favorite Kelli Ali album. It is an acoustic album mostly, with some flutes and strings. The concept is awesome too - the balance of light and darkness. "Rocking Horse" is a kool, frantic song, very dark.
"Flowers" is a haunting song, and "The Kiss" is kool too.
The whole album is amazing. Just don't expect another electronic album.