Sunday, 26 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #76 - Jo Hamilton, "Gown"

The spectre of Annie Lennox has arisen, shaking her Marley chains and pointing bony fingers, mouthing through infernal silence about Best British Female Brit awards and corrosion of the soul.

I'm a little surprised I've heard nothing about Hamilton before. Not because my network of informants is flawless in its dragnet search of pop culture, quite the opposite. I read that she's from the Scottish Highlands and that her parents were east African descendents of earlier Scots. I like that genealogical reverb.

This album feels a bit like the a string of jazz cafes have been stitched together, people collaborating over tales of amazing holidays in corners of the world into which you could never be allowed to stumble. Many tracks move through different sections. There's a hint of Bjork's vocal acrobatics, but Hamilton's voice is lower and calmer and cooler, even if it is just as exotic. It sounds a little too smooth and dry.

"How beautiful is his love/For you" smacks of that there Christianity I've been hearing about these last two millenia. I should listen out for more such hints. "Liathach" starts quietly enough before it goes all Jennifer Rush. "All in Adoration" has the cramped sax sound of Michael Nyman soundtracks and a slinky bassline, but something about her vocal is too poised. Nothing quite grabs me.

I'm filing this under Ground.

Rating: Needs More Time out of The Studio

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