Newest Review: ... way. The songs vary from the sublimely simple to the more classic "pop" style, mixing in ambient synthesisers and, occasionall... more
She's no Angel
Angels And Cigarettes - Eliza Carthy
Member Name: Bryn Pearson
Angels And Cigarettes - Eliza Carthy
Date: 23/01/02, updated on 23/01/02 (212 review reads)
Advantages: it's different, some superb lyrics
Disadvantages: I struggled to get into it, very hard to define.
Eliza Carthy has a reputation as a folk artist, but this album is a real departure - there are distinct jazz influences and lyrics so personal in places that they will make you feel uncomfortable. Thre are alos going to be a few rude bits in this op!
Eliza Carthy has a rare folk pedegrie, with both parents (Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson)are well known folk singers. Eliza herslef has eben perfomring as a folk artists since she was quite little, and has built a reputation for excellent fiddle playing, and a compelling voice.
"Angels and Cigarettes' shows a move away from these folk roots as there are some distinct jazz influences, some much more modern material and a very different style. Most of the musicians from "Red Rice" are involved with this project, so there is some continuity of sound.
"Whispers of Summer" slightly remeniscent of some of the original material on "Red Rice" - a touch introverted and melancholy. It's quite a mellow track, not that exciting.
"Train Song" - this is a really sexy track, the tune is quite striking, the sort of thing that will lodge itself in your head and follow you round. It's a love song,
sample lyric: Well I stood by his shoulder and I blew on his face,
His eyes were a pasture of a much greener place"
Strong backing vocals on this one.
"Beautiful Girl" I'm starting to suspect Miss Carthy may have some issues about physical appearance - there isn't as much bile in this as you might expect, more envy and a sense of having missed something. There's some very poetic lyrics "she looks like a tear drop of milk wrapped up in a silver gown"
"Whole" Bit more up beat, and I still don't think I've figured this out, I think its probably a song about losing yourself in someone else, but the lyrics are weirdly literaly "I could clim
b all the way inside you and be you for a day".
"Poor Little me" - this is a really uncomfortable track, very revealing and its a touch disturbing if you listen to the lyrics. Eliza talks about some aspect of herself that she has managed to 'kill'"She bit and fought and poisoned me". Musically quite interesting, but I still don't feel comfortable listening to it.
"The Company of men" probably my favourite track, opens with the line "I've given blow jobs on couches to men who didn't want me any more," (the rude bit I warned you about)and also features the fabulous phrase "I don't want to be one of the beautiful people, cos beautiful people are boring." This is smokey jazz club in its feel, its sexy and whistful and introverted - I love it.
"Perfect" There's some good thoughts in this song, again, you have to listen to the words.
"Wildwood" - a Paul Weller Track, and its an interesting version, although the guitar solo is missing, which is rather a shame. Suits Eliza's voice well though. Purists and fans of the original may not like it, I don't know.
"Breathe" This isn't a terribly memorable song sadly, but its well worth reading the lyrics - they don't come across well in the recording.
"Fuse" another haunting track, another melancholy song, this one really does show off Eliza's voice to good effect.
This is an odd album. I will admit that I didn't much like it at all when I first heard it, but it's grown on me, and now I listen to it often. Eliza is a folk singer with a folk singer's voice - she doesn't sound trained of poppy or American, but instead has a distinct northern accent - not everyone will get on with this. Her material is self obsessed and perhaps a little indulgent on this album.
Fans of Eliza's work are going to have to
buy this just to find out - I don't promise you will like it, but you should give it a chance.
If you haven't heard any Eliza Carthy, don't start with this album, it'll give you a very odd impression. Try 'Red Rice' or 'Heat Light and Sound' instead, especially if you are looking for something folky. I honestly don't know what music genre this album would fit in - it doesn't have a readily definable sound, but it is intruiging and lyrically it's very good. My only complaint is there really isn't very much of her wonderful fiddle playing, which is a shame.