Joanna Newsom – The Milk-Eyed Mender @ Amazon.co.uk
You always remember something unique, and it was on “Later with Jools Holland” that I first heard Joanna Newsom. Sitting with her harp, performing The Book of Right-On, the rhythms of a late night jazz bass underlined the classical sounds of the upper reaches of the harp with both taking back seat to that voice. So let’s get that out of the road first, Joanna Newsom’s voice is unique, piercing, nasal and yes at points reminds me of her highness of weird, Björk. Once you are accustomed to that you then have to contend with the harp being used in a pop/folk/jazz/rock landscape and that’s all before you get to some very very good songs.
The combination of the voice, the harp, and the songs, all meet to produce a wonderful sound, delicate, fragile and haunting all at once yet carrying moments of power and emotion. This is definitely an album for quieter times, contemplating life through the claret in a glass with the rain percussing the windows.
It won’t be for everyone but if you like to think you have eclectic music tastes I’d give it a listen, I keep coming back to this album and the more I listen to it the better it gets.