Sometimes the simplest things can sweep us away. Manchester-based singer/songwriter Liz Green's debut album 'O, Devotion' is a winner. The folksy/jazzy feel of these ten tracks relies on little more than her curiously distinctive voice, acoustic guitar and a modest instrumental ensemble to make its mark. Her hollow tone, flattened vowels and well- modulated vibrato have a droll quality but imbue her pithy lyrics with raw authenticity, crisply and sympathetically captured by producer Liam Watson. The use of brass in the recording is particularly impressive and despite the transatlantic roots of her compositional style the feel of the album is quintessentially English in effect; as dry as a bone but not without humour.
'Displacement Song' is a fine example of her craft; the oompah accompaniment and somewhat sleazy sax giving Ms Green a bouncy platform for her gently rocking vocal performance. A bit dark and devilish in a Wiemar cabaret kind of way. 'Rag and Bone', too, would work well in a small smoky basement dive at 2am. The quasi-paranoid narrative of 'Luis', with its elusive melodic structure and keening brass intrusions, is a strangely bitter and unsettling invention and final track 'Gallows' is as gloomy as gloomy gets. A somber story well-told.
'O, Devotion' is a strong first-showing from an idiosyncratically maverick talent.
I heard one song from this album on the radio and bought it on good faith. I really liked the first track Hey Joe when I got it. The rest of the album was a bit 'samey' on first listen. I then listened to 3 or 4 tracks in a single session and found they grew on me. I approached the rest of the album in a similar manner and the album really came to life. I love Liz's voice. It's a bit Devendra Banhart or Karen Dalton but more subtle. Definitely worth a listen.