12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A magnificent return to original compositions from the '80's alt-rock goddess.......,
This review is from: Natalie Merchant (Audio CD)
This is a welcome return to original composition from Natalie Merchant whose last album 2010's "Leave Your Sleep" comprised of children's poems set to music was an admirably ambitious experiment which ultimately failed collapsing under the weight of its own ambition. Perhaps Merchant's realisation of this prompted her to re-start composing original material? Whatever the reason the outcome is extraordinary with Merchant's velvety, rich contralto voice never sounding better and is brilliant suited to these (mostly) slow paced, lush [strings are prominent with lashings of cello] songs of heartbreak and experience.
Pop this is not and in some ways some of the themes and moods mirror those of Goldrapp's recent "Tales Of Us" (though Merchant's work exhibits a gravity that Goldfrapp can only dream of and I speak as a great admirer "Tales Of Us"). Stand outs are difficult to pick since it is all excellent, but I do particularly like the (slightly) sparer tracks such as "Seven Deadly Sins" and "Texas" and the climatic closer "The End" where Merchant laments over a luscious orchestral accompaniment [bringing to mind the best tracks on "Leave Your Sleep"]. Also worth mentioning is Merchant belting it out like the good old 10,000 Maniacs days on the gospel-tinged "Go Down Moses" though I could have done without the slightly superfluous backing singer which kind of overeggs the pudding somewhat - still great to hear Merchant cutting loose again even if its only one track.
All said and done a gem and a very welcome return to form from an exceptional singer and artist.