Saturday, 25 October 2014

Record Review - Lanie Lane

Published in the Shortlist section of The Age, Friday October 24.

Lanie Lane
Night Shade
Ivy League

So far away, stylistically, is Lanie Lane’s new cut from 2011 debut To The Horses, you’d not think this was the same artist. Gone is the clean-cut rockabilly blues, the feathery vocal, the endearing rootsy naivety. In its place is a soaring album, wreathed in shimmering guitar and lush, warm soundscapes, an ethereal pop jaunt fronted by someone whose voice is by turns, tough and soft, assured and perfectly placed.

With help from Belles Will Ring guitarist Aidan Roberts, amongst others, Lane here emerges as a true master of her craft. The songs pulsate with energy, melody at their core, each offering more to explore.

With Night Shade, Lane has crafted an album of intense poise and power, majestic and demurring all at once, a true gem.

Samuel J. Fell

Friday, 24 October 2014

Record Review - Lucinda Williams

Published in The Big Issue, October 24

Lucinda Williams
Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone
Highway 20 Records

Lucinda Williams operates on the fringes, her music ragged and torn, frayed around the edges. Her voice bleeds onto tape. For years she’s been lauded by those in the know and she’s had dalliances with the mainstream but for the most part she stalks the dark ends of town, shrouded in shadows, obscured by cheap whisky fumes, cigarette smoke and the like.

Her eleventh studio cut is a study in Americana sleaze. It sometimes slithers, skids through the mud, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’; it has the cold, dead eyes of a killer but is warm-as-hell country soul, barbed-wire blues. Sultry, ‘West Memphis’, fuzzed out (Tony Joe White on guitar); Bill Frisell pops up, Ian McLagen, Jakob Dylan.

No emotion is left unexplored, you’d not expect anything less. An ambitious double record, “southern gothic” feeling to the fore, her vocal sometimes cuts through like a rusty buzzsaw, sometimes flits around the edges. She intersperses with relative calm (‘It’s Gonna Rain’, ‘Compassion’, ‘This Old Heartache’), fills the gaps with blood-stained limpidness. This is a defining album, what country music should be.

Samuel J. Fell