Indies of the world delight! A new record from the unique Joanna Newsom! Five years on from Have One On Me, Divers continues her life-long mission of creating immaculately arranged songs, each seemingly containing a universe. Divers is available from Drag City on diverse formats: double LP, CD, or cassette.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 22 October 2015On the front of the CD label she seems to have got herself into difficulties with a peacock but you would find everyday bird interactions difficult if your compositions were this complicated. For the uninitiated, feed Kate Bush and Tori Amos’s back catalogues into a sausage machine, add a bit of medieval folk seasoning, and you’ll end up with something like Joanna Newsom. Not to get all trade union on your asses but I have about five minutes to dissect this opus and no reviewers available to give it the thought it deserves. I’m several minutes into opener ‘Anecdotes’ and it’s gone through more chord and key changes than you could shake a shaky stick at. It’s ever-flowing forward, with some beautiful passages - but some that sound like an orchestral Mercury Rev attempting a musical about a swan. Strong use of the piccolo. I’m not overly impressed by kooky single ‘Sapokanikan’ (too many twinkles)...and that voice...well you either love it or hate it. Just at the moment I was going to impress you by concluding "less harp" comes ‘Leaving the City’, which is full of the damn thing. The general sound is more keyboard-based though with harpsichords trilling away. I wonder when Newsom thrusts her voice upward on ‘Goose Eggs’ if she ever thinks "maybe this is just a bit too Kate Bush?". The record seems to remove some of Newsom’s hard edges, the melodies wander this way and that, and at times (as on the latter stages of ‘Goose Eggs’) become a little….um….like a three pronged keyboard jam. Safe to say that if you are not a fan then this won’t convert you. It's not as wild as earlier work, but it is another rich and detailed addition to her catalogue.
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- Divers by Joanna Newsom
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