The basically incomparable Josephine Foster is back with No More Lamps in the Morning on CD and vinyl LP. Her gorgeous and strange voice dominates these recordings, which are blend of new material and unusual covers of her own work. Her poetry is combined with that of James Joyce and Rudyard Kipling and accompanied by guitars and cellos that are both beautiful and dissonant.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 02 February 2016
Let’s do an anecdotal review, shall we? I’ve heard ‘No More Lamps In The Morning’ delicately swamping its way through our office speakers three or four times, and not once has it come close to clicking: out in the field, like that, it’s a stagnating record, a Basically Foster record of homogenous strums and trailing lyricism. Now the headphones are on, my introspective stat boost has gone up +5, and I’m pretty sure this is a lovely record.
Until now, I’ve found Foster’s best records to be the most obvious. The ornate ‘Blood Rushing’ comes to mind as her best moment, a record with the right amount of drama -- with real waterfalls at the end of rivers. ‘No More Lamps In The Morning’ is a more traditional snapshot of her work, though, consisting of plucks and a few flourishes -- which only get accentuated if you get close and isolate yourself while listening -- and no particular end in sight. Give it time, though, and you’ll be glad these aren’t much in the way of songs: hearing “A Thimbleful of Milk” now, it sounds like a kindly meditation, with meandering guitar soloing peaking coming through behind Foster’s bare-bone structure of guitar picks. With extra arrangements quietly billowing through these songs, there’s a feeling of cascading to go with the Radio3-does-folk style.
This record is paced slower than any Foster record I’ve delved into, but it makes the emphasis greater: when the higher, more wrangling notes come through on “My Dove, My Beautiful One”, it creates that same feeling of restful unrest that Tim Buckley could conjure at his finest. When cello slides, ever-so-quietly, into these tracks, it does so at a gorgeous waiting measure, as if Foster has actually slowed the whole universe down. What I’m saying is this record is so, so nice, when you come down to its level.
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