7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Wrought Iron (Audio CD)
Nancy Elizabeth (Nee Cunliffe), a singer/songwriter
hailing from Manchester has created a fine piece of
work with her second album 'Wrought Iron'.
The folksy roots of the material belie a strong ability
to think and sing outside of that box. She digs deep with
this collection of 11 songs and delivers something
quite extraordinary in its single-minded vision.
Her voice is an affecting instrument, haunting even.
The sparse arrangements emphasise this somewhat
otherworldly quality. 'Tow The Line', for instance,
with its stark bluesy piano and accordion accompaniment
constructs the perfect frame for the bewitchingly
melancholic vocal line. It is a dark delight.
'Diving' has an almost suffocating intensity. The subtle
brass brings just a little warmth to what might otherwise
have been an entirely desolate experience. Serious stuff.
There is little respite from the oppressive atmosphere.
Even the brief instrumental 'Cat Bells' has an icy chill
running through it. Solemnity, however, is clearly her strength.
'Lay Low' is about as sprightly as things get but only just.
Hand-claps, a pulsing bass, delicate harmonies and that glowing
brass again. Heck (!) things almost get cheerful on this one.
'Ruins' is a perfectly sustained piece of misery, Ms Elizabeth's
voice barely rising above a whisper for its almost 6 minute span.
Final track 'Winter, Baby' grants us a disquieting and disturbing conclusion.
Not since Polly Harvey's 2007 album 'White Chalk' have I heard
such a sustained and almost terrifying vision of sublime disphoria.
I loved every minute of it !!