Saturday, 12 November 2011

Mary Hampton - Folly

Delightfully Disturbing

The vocal is quintessentially 'folk' without question: soaring at times, piercing, falsetto-fine, haunting often, traditional and then quirky. The quirkiness is perhaps more in the unusual instrumentation at times - with occasional ambient/random sounds - and the use of recorder and the humming moan of harmonium. This adds to the haunting sounds too. The strings of her backing band Cotillion are either soft in the background as in Lullaby for the Beleaguered with its rolling and at times complex but beautiful harmonies [waves lapping in the background too], or chamber fresh in Kiss V where a discordant guitar-pluck unsettles throughout. I like these additional dissonant sounds within the mix. It unsettles but also prevents the songs and singing from becoming folk-twee. A song like Forget-Me-Not with its monotone harmonium, sharp recorders, brooding very occasional bass and echoing harmonies really does disturb delightfully. A genuinely interesting collection.

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