Lauren Thomson: Chanteuses and Shotguns (Ode)

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Lauren Thompson: Peter
Lauren Thomson: Chanteuses and Shotguns (Ode)

Auckland singer-songwriter Thomson deservedly struck lucky when she went to Canada with Tami Neilson to assist on Neilson's follow-up to The Kitchen Sessions Vol 1 . . . Thomson got this new album at the same time.

As she writes in the liner notes here, "Playing music and hanging out with the Neilson family in the hot Canadian sun was an unbeatable cocktail of banjos and harmonicas, energy and laughter, and a much needed, noisy, air-conditioning unit".

Mostly recorded around the same kitchen table as Neilson's new album (with many of the same musicians, including Tami who gets a co-credit on the cover), this collection has a casual but crafted intimacy . . . and you would have loved to have been there when the banjo and electric guiar came out for the gritty No Good For My Soul, the country-rocking Paralyzed By You or for the lean simplicity of the breath-stopping ballad Where Would I Be (which won her the New Zealand MTL Songwriting award in 2010).

Here too is a remix of her earlier Oh Daddy It's Alright (from her EP Our Love is Due) and are rather lesser version of Springsteen's I'm on Fire -- recorded in New Zealand -- which doesn't exactly burn with the sexual energy the lyrics invite.

Thomson's faith is the fore in the gentle folk narrative Peter (about St Peter being freed from prison by an angel) which has some interesting time and emphasis changes in her delivery -- from almost conversational to airily melodic -- which pull you in. As does the quiet closer Nine Hours North which is a yearning for an absent lover.

With nine tracks and clocking at less than half an hour, this is a short album but by being so it never outstays its welcome and invites a poke of the "repeat" button just to take you back to the kitchen table for the excellent opener Road to Nowhere again then it's on to the emotional torment of No Good For My Soul, Where Would I Be . . .

Like the sound of this? Then try this.

And Lauren Thompson has also answered The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.

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