ANNA ELIZABETH LAUBE Tree Ahh…Pockets! Records [Release date 21.10.16]
Her last album – Anna Laube (2015) may have taken five years to complete, but the fourth album from Seattle-based Anna Elizabeth Laube has followed in just over 12 months. But like its predecessor it still barely breaks the 30 minute mark.
And while her eponymous effort had an ‘easy listening’ East Coast vibe, the overriding ‘feel’ of Tree – a record focused on environmental, personal, and societal healing – is one of quiet desperation. Mournfulness drips from every tune – the fiddle on Dylan’s ‘Wallflower’, the harmonica on ‘I Miss You So Much’, and the trumpet on Beyonce’s ‘XO’.
The latter is virtually unrecognisable – slowed right down and stripped to the barest of acoustic guitar (and trumpet) accompaniment, and delivered – like all of the songs in the set – in a style not a million miles removed from that of Norah Jones/Suzanne Vega.
With the barest of instrumentation throughout, the songs, the vocals, and the acoustic delivery are to the fore and beautifully presented. But upbeat, Trees is not. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
THE O’s Honeycomb [Release date 05.02.16]
An acoustic, a banjo, a harmonica and two voices and are all that The O’s – Texan due John Pedigo and Taylor Young – need on their fourth release Honeycomb.
Having supported Del Amitri in 2014, Justin Currie makes a cameo vocal appearance on one number within a set that in many ways echo Currie’s acoustic B-sides that featured on many of the Del Amitri singles.
The banjo adds a rootsy feel to what is otherwise classic harmony singer songwriter material with echoes of the likes of Paul Simon and Tom Petty. So really, it comes down to how good the songs are. Reaper is an atmospheric number but otherwise, while Honeycomb is pleasant enough on the ear, there’s little here that makes the listener take a backwards step. **1/2
Revi9ew by Pete Whalley
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