Alice Otter Music [Release date 19.01.18]
DiMicele’s last offering the sparsely arranged, jazz influenced, Swim a beguiling melting pot of roots infused with breathy Hammond B3 keys, gospelesque vocals, Americana-tinged fiddle, dobro, lap steel, and Tex-Mex horns – came within a whisker’s breadth of making my Best Of 2015 selection.
So I was looking forward to this release, although even before the needle hit to groove I was a little concerned about a track listing of only 8 new songs, plus a cover of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. The latter may well sit well within her live set but is another re-visiting of such an iconic number really merited?
But, in an album of two halves, those reservations were swept away with the opener ‘One With The Tide’ with its gently swelling Hammond B3 organ, DiMicele’s distinctive seductive vocals, and gorgeous hook. ‘Desire’ throws some bluesy Bonnie Rait elements into the mix, while ‘The Other Side’ is a gentle acoustic / strings lament that builds gently with wonderfully soulful vocals, and ‘Lonely Alone’ dips into classic ‘country’ territory.
On what would be the vinyl B side, the quality falls away with ‘Waiting’ – a light breezy, playful number with a calypso vibe, ‘Nature Reigns’ sounds like Karen Carpenter but lacks substance, ‘Seeds’ is overly mournful, and while ‘Imagine’ is a good version, it naturally enough – pales compared to the original. Only the enthralling gospel infused ‘Voice Of The Water’, reaches the highs of ‘side one’ and the best of her previous release.
With 14 self-released albums to her credit, DiMicele has really matured on her last two albums with some particularly marvellous vocal performances and genre hopping. If she could just nail the song writing quality control … ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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