Friday, December 20, 2013

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2013: 12-11

12 Nadine Shah - Love Your Dum And Mad
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
Not to take away from Shah's own vision, but after Beth Jeans Houghton last year Ben Hillier seems to have sorted the art of producing singular female singer-songwriters who inhabit their own slow-burning headspace (both Geordies, too) Shah's soaringly emotive, velvety jazz-trained vocals bring a power to songs of darkness and betrayal that inhabit a place where escape is possible but lessons still have to be learned on what it is to fall out of love/favour/care. While never feelingl sorry for itself or coasting on wallowing, that atmosphere and the brooding backing with odd little touches heightens Shah's confessional, fearless feel.

11 Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
The four-song suite that opens the album finds Marling in flux, attempting to resolve how emotional instability can ever triumph, finding strength in adversity. Her most unashamed Joni/Bob-like sounding record yet, it's an occasionally uncomfortably lengthy recce through the rubble of a past of personal relationships, trading what wasn't even before now a fulsome sound for a more directly close-miked confessional aura, an intensity bordering on deliberately trained catharsis that acknowledges naivety but in denial, trusting in love even when she knows she shouldn't, developing into vengeance before insecurity rears its head. In further understanding herself, Marling's command of her lyrically driven id is making her more and more accomplished.

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