Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CD Reviews: a Contrasting Pair....

Miranda Quammie: Tempest

I meet Miranda 'on the circuit' sometimes and I have always liked her voice; I asked her to give me a copy of her CD so that I could take a listen and encourage you to listen to her music.
Miranda is a keyboard player and on this album she is joined by a selection of well-chosen musicians who add colour to the songs. My absolute favourite track on the album is the beautiful urban reverie Undertow which has a lovely melody and shifting textures of instrumentation beneath it. Other notable tracks are Tempest Interlude with its shades of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love, Distance, the tracks RAMS Interlude, and the strong simplicity of Latin Song which features a 'speaking' cello in conversation with the vocal line (something about this track reminds me of the artist Joan as Policewoman). Elsewhere I hear the influences of Siouxsie; there are equal measures of doom and charm in these songs. If  I have a criticism it's the sheer volume of tracks; maybe that's more of a reviewer's problem, because for a fan of Miranda's music the seventeen tracks here provide exceptionally good value for money!
I am looking forward to hearing her next step...

Shipcote and Friends: Me and My Buddies

Shipcote is a promoter from Gateshead who has always remained a musician, which means that he has never crossed that cynical divide that puts 'us' on one side and 'them' on the other. His music has a relaxed and smiling vibe and the reason I have chosen to review his CD is that I really like his song writing. The music falls firmly into the acoustic field and a lot of his music seems as though it has always been there (Sweet Bye and Bye has a definite old-timey classic feel). He is a great chorus- writer with a sweet'n'sour approach to lyric writing (Best Wishes, Find Myself). I was interested to see that Brian Younger,  one of the unsung guitar heroes of the north-east, has contributed to this with his magic touch! Shippy has a love of Americana and there is a nod in the direction of cajun here especially in the fiddle and accordion interplay that happens in some of the songs. He is also brave enough to include waltz-time and tango songs (hear that, Frank Ocean?). I think my fave track is My Buddy and Me which is a definite porch-and-rockin' chair track, although it's a tie with Your Kind of People which has the most lovely ethereal backing vocals.
Bring me my non-alcoholic Jack Daniels and my croc-burger!

Two more reviews later today, or tomorrow: then that's it for this month!

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