Tuesday, August 14, 2007

One Cell In The Sea - A Fine Frenzy

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A Fine Frenzy is basically singer/songwriter Alison Sudol, and I suppose you could say that it's a wise decision to at least have the pretence of a stage name. After all, female singer-songwriters are ten a penny these days.

The blurb tells us she taught herself to play piano and is a fan of classical music, Motown, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Louis Armstrong, amongst others. A disparate array of influences perhaps, but ones that are brought together to surprisingly haunting effect.

The music is beautifully pitched, with delightful piano that never descends into the pop parody of a, say, Delta Goodrem, and Sudol has a disarming voice that you'll not be able to resist falling in love with.

What marks this album out from the pack is it's lyrical excellence as well. The claimed fantasy influences of such authors as EB White and CS Lewis is clear in the "tale" songs in her repertoire (such as The Minnow & The Trout) yet the songs which are more firmly based in the heartfelt real life side of things (such as You Picked Me) are just as good.

As ever, or so it seems, the criticism would be that it's all a bit one-paced and there is nothing much that differentiates each track from the one that follows it. It's not that much of a criticism, given that there isn't a track that you'd really want to skip every time and the lush production and Sudol's beautiful voice are just as good every time.

The one exception to the similarity is album closer, Borrowed Time, which sees Sudol pick up the acoustic guitar and pluck out a delicate, fruity melody that might recall Travis' best moments to some.

There's a lot to admire on this debut, and it's faults shouldn't dissuade you from checking it out, especially if it sounds like your kind of thing in general. In essence it's a pretty good debut that simultaneously marks A Fine Frenzy as one to watch and also suggests that there's more to come next time around.

And that fact that she kind of reminds me of a red-haired Rachel Bilson has nothing to do with this review at all; that's just a bonus.

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