Marina Allen in Leeds
Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Sunday 28th November 2021, £8.00
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Marina Allen glides on angelic highs, surfing the husky deep; she is one of the great new voices of her generation. Writing songs that carry notes from other realms; these are kitchen table tales about love and fear, the capturing of the wild heart, sketching the breaking of dawn, bringing real life back to life.
Every song on stunning debut album Candlepower is a tick box of influences, asides, inspirations, quickfire theories, storylines, and melodic progressions that galvanise a chemical reaction for each dramatic scene that unfolds on this genre- traversing seven song epic.
Candlepower is so confident and crystal clear, so full of masterfully crafted songs and purely emotive performances, that you feel like youve loved it all before as it twists and turns. A moving, hard-to- believe balancing act that crosses genres and invariably flows unapologetically, succinctly, and spine-tinglingly to a glorious conclusion. Amid the euphoria, you hear rhymes and end rhythms, rumours and fact. Tales of the unexpected.
One listen to opening track Oh, Louise underlines the range of Marinas talent, its a filmic play on words, with an arrangement thats like a Kate Bush dream sequence. Its the perfect foil for the plaintive strum of Sleeper Train, a haunting, folky paean fit for Judee Sill brought up to date with some echoey electric guitar; or the conversational Believer; with a nod to Joni Mitchell in the lyrics it sounds every bit like Simon And Garfunkel at their Big Apple best listening to the 7 OClock News re- imagined on Sunset.
The stuff of legend for a voice that surfs many musical tangents, hovers, and persists, that stings with honesty; morphing from Karen Carpenters gentle reverence to Laura Nyros soulful grit, moving through the phases like some possessed Dada performance artist before throwing in a melody from Joni at her jazziest or from the close harmonies of the lamented Roches when they flipped out with Robert Fripp.
Candlepower is a juxtaposition of melodies, an achingly beautiful set of songs set against the clank of the mundane world, a beguiling commentary on the everyday and everywhere.
Its all here, in under 20 minutes... every second counts.
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