Saturday, 9 January 2016

Alicia Hall Moran - Heavy Blue, album review

Blues Opera to Shh and Disturb

This is operatic blues, second track I Like the Sunrise an aria of soaring vocal and background atmospheric orchestration. On third Open Door the sonorous singing of blues gospel is underscored by an electronic pulse and rise of sound that helps to create the most creative noise of a record stuck in its groove, but one that is mesmerising. 

As a complete surprise, third Flow My Tears [for Smokey Robinson] is Moran again in operatic splendour but accompanied by classical acoustic guitar, though electric synth over piano and other gently pushes in to end, just after the Robinson line 'cruising together'. Fifth traditional Deep River introduces the first balladic jazz backdrop to that blues-opera delivery, and Moran soars intergalactic on this one – stunning.

Later The Little Horses lullaby is disturbed by brash guitar chords, grunge-like, and these ‘straight’ to paradoxical arrangements across the album are genuinely captivating. The shssssing and amplified breathing of Shh calms for a moment, and instrumental Heavy Blues Muse that follows sooths more but unnervingly.

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