Josephine Foster: Faithful Fairy Harmony (Fire/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Lord of Love
Josephine Foster: Faithful Fairy Harmony (Fire/Southbound)
Let us reiterate a point made about her previous album No More Lamps in the Morning, that Josephine Foster's voice and style is not for the casual listener.

Really, it's not.

She gets placed in the “folk” category but others will hear a strange take on front-parlour ballads from the Thirties around the piano, German lieder, odd waltzes, operatic drama, piano cut across by strange effects, harmonica and pedal steel behind her sometimes shrill vocals . . .

It might come as no surprise that she was a funeral singer, more surprisingly that she also sung for weddings.

She apparently wanted to be an opera singer . . . but has resolved to do this.

This long CD (77 minutes, it is a double vinyl) is not without its charming pieces: the lengthy, almost speak-sing Virgin of the Snow has an odd appeal early on; the oddly multi-tracking on Pearl in the Oyster is beguiling; there's a lovely song lurking within All Plaes Next to You; Eternity is beautiful . . .

But most will struggle with her voice, maybe find the archaisms jarring alongside more contemporary references and times this to be as challenging as Yoko Ono in her childlike ballad mode.

Others may find her highly distinctive and occasionally wistful style “charming”, a description which seems frequently applied.

She explores the mystical and comes from a poetic tradition (she has set the words of Joyce, Lorca, Kipling and others to music in the past) and there is no doubt an album of this scope and lyrical challenge requires considerable devotion and engagement.

She may be from Colorado and this recorded in Nashville but the country-rock setting of Force Divine might still come as a surprise.

On an album that offers one surprise after another. Not all of them pleasant.

But, and it is a big but, this might grow on you if you are prepared to give over that considerable engagement. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Gecko Turner: Guapapasea! (Rhythmethod)

Gecko Turner: Guapapasea! (Rhythmethod)

The absurdly named Gecko Turner is actually a Spanish producer and composer who has fronted bands, won awards, and effected a pleasantly lazy meltdown of global pop and dance styles into something... > Read more

The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending (Flying Nun) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending (Flying Nun) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In a cover so cheap-looking and unpromising that it reminds me of an intermediate school kid's doodle comes one of the best New Zealand albums of the year. Let's hope that godawful... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Florence and the Machine; How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

THE BARGAIN BUY: Florence and the Machine; How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

There's an enormous amount of wrought emotion on this album which sounds like a collection of sometimes obsessively self-centred songs about heartbreak ,but Florence has the lungs, powerful vibrato... > Read more

GUEST WRITER OWEN WOOD looks at when genius gets the blues

GUEST WRITER OWEN WOOD looks at when genius gets the blues

The flawed and ultimately doomed genius Truman Capote once wrote, "When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended solely for self-flagellation". When we... > Read more