Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

 |   |  1 min read

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Little Birds
Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

This being Holland's first album since 2008's excellent The Living and the Dead, it naturally arrives much anticipated. But while some have suggested it harkens back to her style on the very popular Escondida of '04, to these ears it sounds the natural extension of its predecessor.

She again has the same producer Shahzad Ismaily, her songs have a slightly battered and emotional quality, guitarist Marc Ribot is back as part of the trio with Ismaily and Greg Gersten (although seemingly only makes one appearance), that peculiar phrasing remains intact ("pass" becomes "pay-aass"), the poetics are not dissimilar . . .

This certainly feels more live-in-the-studio than the previous album -- neatly up-close and slightly raw in places -- but no matter where you discovered Holland (who was a founder of Be Good Tanyas) this one will delight.

Gersten's guitar and Ismaily's shuffling beats bring a sprightly South African township jive feel to Little Birds, but they follow that with the melancholy and gorgeously melodic ballad The Devil's Sake ("I got drunk on an old photograph of you") where Ribot's steel guitar and ukulele add an eerie, swamp-at-midnight mood.

Gersten's brittle playing adds some serious edge to many of these songs (the weary opener All Those Girls, the "Tumbling Dice guitar" on the desperate, Lucinda Wiliams-like Remember) and Holland slides easily from weirdly upbeat material (with disconcerting lyrics) to slower ballads where she sounds like she's wringing the emotion out from some place deep within (Honey Girl).

Many have found her unusual phrasing and pronunciation something of a hinderance (it does sometimes smack of an affectation) and that will maybe remain an issue.

But these strangely realised songs and their immediacy will get most people past that.

Still a voice to be reckoned with.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Benjamin Booker: Benjamin Booker (Rough Trade)

Benjamin Booker: Benjamin Booker (Rough Trade)

Although he had some considerable advance hype, this New Orleans-based punk-edged rocker lives up to the claims being made on this debut album, simply by delivering gutsy rock'n'roll with a tight... > Read more

Ha The Unclear; Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go (bandcamp)

Ha The Unclear; Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go (bandcamp)

And now for something completely different . . . Singer-songwriter Michael Cathro who fronts this oddly-named band is a real one-off. His accent is unashamedly antipodean: He pronounces the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BONFIRE OF ROADMAPS by JOE ELY (2008)

BONFIRE OF ROADMAPS by JOE ELY (2008)

Joe Ely who grew up in Lubbock, West Texas (Buddy Holly's hometown) is something of a legend in Americana/alt.country rock: he was on the road in the early 70s hitching around to play gigs far... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DARONDO: The soul man who went AWOL

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DARONDO: The soul man who went AWOL

To hear William Daron Pullman tell how he got his non-de-disque at the dawn of the Seventies gives an insight into both his smarts, and how he could just as equally be seduced by the money-image... > Read more