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Album Reviews Delectably ethereal and introspective ambience

IAN SINCLAIR reviews albums by Kim Richey, Neil Young, and Amaya Laucirica

Amaya Laucirica
Rituals
(Opposite Number)
★★★★

FOR Australian musician Amaya Laucirica, her fourth album, which she began writing in Berlin, “sounds like that time of starting again.”

Heavy on synths and exploring themes of frustration, acceptance, time, loss and love, it’s an immersive, sprawling set of dream pop.

Spacious songs like Under the Tide and single All of our Time highlight a debt to the breezy melodies of legendary fellow Oz songsmiths The Go-Betweens, while Laucirica’s gorgeous reverb-laden vocals bring to mind Mazzy Star and the ethereal Scottish indie group the Cocteau Twins.

The brooding guitars on the will-they, won’t-they More Than This and the sultry and brilliantly titled Endangered Man contributes to the delectably ethereal and introspective ambience, while the thumping Sometimes makes a good stab at mining the sound of the Stone Roses’ classic debut.

Absorbing and mesmerising.

Kim Richey
Edgeland
(Yep Roc Records)
★★★★

SINCE her 1995 debut record, country singer-songwriter Kim Richey has released a slew of albums, written a hit single for megastar Trisha Yearwood and worked with Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell.

As this biography hints at, her new Nashville-recorded album is a masterclass in songwriting, situating itself on the edgelands of mainstream country. With its lyrics about smoking cigarettes, waiting for a train and watching the world go by, opener The Red Line suggests Richey could be Caitlin Rose’s older sister. Can’t Let You Go includes chiming guitar straight out of the Tom Petty playbook, while Not For Money Or Love is a sad story song about dying far too young.

With her expert ear for melody and memorable choruses, Richey has written a fine set of classic-sounding country pop songs like her contemporaries Gretchen Peters and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

 

Neil Young
Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live
(Reprise)
★★★★★

“HEART of Gold put me in the middle of the road,” Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young famously wrote about his 1972 hit song. “Travelling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch.”

Thus, a year later, Young recorded the defiantly uncommercial stadium set Time Fades Away and Tonight’s The Night, a late night rock'n'roll masterpiece dealing with the drug-related deaths of his roadie Bruce Berry and bandmate Danny Whitten.

The latest album in his archive series, Roxy documents an extraordinary live outing of the latter record, with songs like the wayward Mellow My Mind and the druggy Roll Another Number (For The Road) interspersed with surreal between-song raps.

Albuquerque sounds wondrously mysterious, while the two versions of the bluesy title track pack a powerful, incredibly raw, emotional punch.
An astonishing moment in Young’s 50-year-plus musical career.

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