Thursday, September 14, 2006

Amy Millan - Honey From the Tombs.

If Amy Millan only did her day job – as vocalist with the band ‘Stars’ – that would be reason enough to regard her as one of the very best of current female singers and the 2005 album ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ by ‘Stars’ is a true masterpiece in my opinion.

It is she also who, along with some of her band mates and many others, works in the awesome and rather avant-garde indie collective ‘Broken Social Scene’ who released their second and self-titled LP in 2005 (2006 in the UK). You might think that would be a punishing workload for anyone but not, it would seem, for Amy. We already know ‘indie Amy’ and ‘experimental Amy’ but I for one never expected that her first solo album ‘Honey From The Tombs’, which was three years in the making, would bring us ‘alt-country Amy’ and when I read the first reviews I was equally curious and alarmed!

I shouldn’t have worried because she seems to have near flawless judgement: the album is quirky, lyrically clever and her vocals are as wonderful as ever. It is much more acoustic than her usual outlets, and "Hard Hearted (Ode to Thoreau)" actually reminds me a bit of Norah Jones at her bleakest and best, but if you like Cerys Matthews’ solo music then you’ll probably find much to like here and track 9, "He Brings out the Whiskey In Me" sounds like a inspired hybrid between Cerys’ "Chardonnay" and Sandi Thom’s "Sunset Borderline". If you like the album 'Fires' by Nerina Pallot then you should seriously consider listening to this (and also vice-versa). For what my thoughts are worth the final track, "Pour Me Up Another", reminds me of Mary Lorson and something from the eponymous album ‘Saint Low’, released in 2000. This album is definitely a risk well worth taking… and it is available on vinyl too (as are the singles)!

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