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Music Album reviews with Ian Sinclair

Simone Felice
The Projector
(New York Pro)

THOSE who have followed the Catskills-born Simone Felice from his days with The Felice Brothers and then The Duke & The King will know he is a hugely talented singer-songwriter.

His new record, full of affecting and often stripped-back ballads, is further proof of his brilliance. Gone is the soul influence of his previous work, replaced by more stately songs like the title track, with its talk of bugged phones and toasters in baths and a huge chorus supplied by Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes.

Hustler has something of Nic Jones’s The Jukebox As She Turned about it, while the strained domesticity on Your Hands echoes the high emotions of fellow Americana songster John Murry.

They’d Hang Upon My Every Word, an impressionistic short-story spoken-word track confirms what is obvious — the poetic, romanticised lyrics are the centrepiece of Felice’s art.

Wye Oak
The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs

BIRTHED in Baltimore, indie hipster duo Wye Oak now live in separate cities, with singer and guitarist Jenn Wasner in Durham, North Carolina, and drummer Andy Stack based in Marfa, Texas, and their new record was recorded on short visits the bandmates made to each other.

Like their 2014 album Shriek, they have added in walls of electronica to their basic sound, creating some impressively large and bold music to accompany lyrics which they say ruminate on “a time of immense doubt” in their personal lives and a wider world which “seems in existential peril.”

The sweet Join and the kinetic title track are both highlights, with Wasner’s vocal range a thing of wonder.

Wye Oak are clearly talented and there’s lots going on, but, strangely, little of it hits the mark. Instead, it washed over me despite several attempts at getting into it.

Emma Tricca
St Peter

US singer-songwriter Emma Tricca says that she hoped her new album, written in London, Rome and New York City, would sound like “The Velvet Underground meets Fairport Convention.”

With Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums and guest appearances from Howe Gelb and the legendary Judy Collins, the folky, poetic songs glide past at a stately pace, creating something very interesting and altogether different from the two bands she cites as influences.

Opener Winter, My Dear is all whispered vocals and subtle, icy instrumentation, while Julian’s Wings shuffles along nicely, melding gentle electric guitar and synths. Tricca’s incredible voice reminds me of Joanna Newsom and Aldous Harding, though one of the record’s highlights is Solomon Said, an epic song with Collins weaving a dream-like, spoken-word tale.

Organic and ethereal, St Peter is a fascinating set and the gifted Tricca is definitely one to watch.



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