Kathryn Joseph's debut Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I've Spilled was a bit of a sad corker winning all kinds of Scottish awards. This is her second record and first for Mogwai's Rock Action imprint. Expect windswept bleak confessionals with a warm heart and quivering delivery that soothe rather than haunt.
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Kathryn Joseph announced herself with her debut Bones You Have Thrown Me, And Blood I've Spilled, a late developer and already in her forties, the singer has a unique and studied take on the singer songwriter oeuvre. I'm having a hard time working out whether you can even describe the opener 'Ill' as being 'a singer songwriter' piece. Consisting as it does a wordless vocal over glorious piano chords. It sounds like Bjork humming over Mark Hollis's solo album.
From When I Wake The Want Is is a lot more delicate than the more stormy Bones You Have Thrown Me... it often sounds like Joseph is disappearing into the ether. Her voice is shaky, tortured and is used more of an instrument than with something you can get a grip of which means that on initial listens you find yourself grasping at it for meaning and each time it slithers by. Therefore you can concentrate on the music which is often rather gorgeous indeed. Most tracks are piano led but the production is dusty and grainy with muffled drums threatening to explode out of their traps on 'Tell My Lover' which recalls Radiohead to a degree but a more windswept one.
In fact Windswept is a good adjective to describe this record. It seems to have been dredged out of a Scottish loch. There's something of the late recordings of Billy MacKenzie in Joseph's octave leaping vocal presentation and haunting piano ballads. These are bleak, threatening stormclouds of songs that after listening makes you want to dry off with a soft towel.
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