Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Lucy Roleff - Longbows

Brooding and Beautiful

Lucy took a punt and posted a link to her bandcamp site and EP details in a Comments section of this blog a while back. I have just got around to listening and have purchased a copy and will happily review now because I like what I have heard. Not that my modest audience is going to help her out all that much, but for what it's worth I highly recommend this to those that do read this review.

The five songs on the EP are slow and serious and in both respects I am being complimentary. For the former attribute, there are those who might hear these and wish for something more upbeat. If this were a full album I'd be agreeing, but in establishing a style/mood across these few I think the pace makes a valid statement where the focus is on Roleff's fulsome vocal - at times genuinely like Joni Mitchell at her lower register [in her early singing - not the cigarette-affected lost octave of her current mature voice] - as well as the injections/snatches of strings and clarinet: plucked, briefly puffed, clawed, apart from the more sustained strains [a relative term] of the light orchestration on opener Volkshaus. It really is a beautiful voice that is held in similar check to the instrumentation so I look forward to hearing her expand on this in the future. There are also delicate harmonies at work, for example in the penultimate song on the EP, In The Afternoon. For the latter attribute I suppose one could see/hear these as rather dour, but again I like what I have called the 'seriousness' of that focus, a lyrical storytelling that is linguistically rich and at times challenging. There is a brooding marriage of such lyricism and musical mood in fine opener Volkhaus, already mentioned,

and it gets dark sometimes
working in a mine
filling a trough of sediment
knobbly mounds of diamond
and blood black stone
waiting for a whistle cry
watching a speckle breasted bird
a ribcage through a lens of earth

It will seem faint praise, but there is none of the current fashionable female vocal affectations in Roleff's singing, and for those who understand my oft-stated disdain for this contemporary nonsense, you'll appreciate the genuine accolade in acknowledging its absence!

You can listen to the full EP and purchase a copy [either as download or actual cd - I have gone for the latter] here.

There is an emerging artistic talent of note here, and perhaps I really mean emerging to a wider audience because Lucy Roleff has quite clearly grown up in and already developed independently from her culturally rich familial and other environments, as evidenced by looking at the Illustration, but more interestingly, for me, at the Writing sections found on her web-site here.

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