Groove Tunes

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Alela Diane - The Pirate's Gospel

What can I say about this album? This has to be the best album that I've heard in years. Yes, it really is that good, and I can't praise it enough. I had never heard of Alela Diane before and just listened to this album on a whim and I'm very glad that I did so. It is a folk album but somehow it is so much more than that and puts must things tagged in this genre to shame.

The album starts with Alela's characteristic finger picking on the guitar and then her voice comes in after a couple of bars. Oh that voice. She has a bit of a southern (I think?) twang to her voice, which I'm not normally keen on, which adds something to her songs. It almost portrays some kind of honesty, humility, integrity. And she has such an amazing voice. Every line she sings is powerful, deep and full of character. The backing vocals in the chorus complement her lines well. And that is pretty much all there is to the album, Alela and her angelic voice and her guitar, and some backing vocals.

Simplicity like this exposes lack of talent but Alela oozes it and she really needs nothing else in her songs. Her songwriting is strong enough to be exposed to this lack of extra instrumentation.

The second song, again, opens in the same way. The chorus features Alela harmonizing with herself and the result is nothting short of sheer beauty. I can't quite figure out what the lyrics are about but the whole album makes me think of someone living in the country with an old fashioned way of life, enjoying the simple things and just writing amazing songs.

The title track features a banjo and some handclaps, about as close to percussion that this album comes to. This is a very strong song. It has quite an unusual sound to it, added to by the banjo and the handclaps, but also in the chorus section there is a Mmmming and even, "yo ho yo ho, yo hooooo."

Every track on The Pirate's Gospel are excellent and classics for me. I afraid that I am going to listen to it so many times that it becomes too familiar, a chore to hear, but it hasn't happened yet and I can't see it happening. Somehow, Alela has creating something so sparse and seemingly simple but yet something that can stand up to hundreds of listens which reveal little subtleties with each listen.

I can't recommend this album enough. In some ways I want to keep it to myself, my private pleasure. But every time I listen I just want to share it with the world and ask everyone why they are not listening to it already. If you have ever liked any singer-songwriter then you should have a listen to this album, I really doubt that you will be disappointed. If every generic artist of this genre could take even 10% of Alela's talent and creativity then it would be a lot more interesting to listen to.


Not what I would usually listen to but its pretty good!

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