Wise Queen Records [Release date 18.10.19]
Strangers is the new album by Sussex based singer songwriter RISE – the artist formerly known as Talitha Rise (aka Jo Beth Young).
The follow up to her 2018 debut An Abandoned Orchid House, it’s another ethereal set from a woman whose quirky musical visions and style fall somewhere between Kate Bush’s more exploratory moments and Stevie Nicks.
Branded ‘progressive folk’, Strangers explores the themes of love, loss, rebirth and transformation in her first fully self-produced set where she worked distantly from the likes of returning contributor Peter Yates (Fields Of Nephilim- guitars), before weaving the tapestry of musical textures of each track from the seclusion of the west coast of Ireland.
An almost ambient vibe pervades proceedings – plaintive pianos, whispered or wailed vocals, haunting cellos, with but ‘humanness’ – a cello bow hitting the mic, piano pedals and stool creak deliberately left in place (if, indeed, you can spot them).
Like her debut, if there’s a complaint, it’s a tendency to drift into ‘mood music’ where – if there’s other distractions at hand – you find yourself tuning out, meaning RISE is still a long distance away from attracting a mainstream audience, no matter how delicately constructed her material.
Very much a niche record – and if you liked An Abandoned Orchid House, you’ll be blown away by Strangers – and most rewarding listened to with the lights down low and no distractions. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
Album review (Talitha Rise, 2018)
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