Julia Vorontsova; Over (Privet)

 |   |  1 min read

Julia Vorontsova: Nameless
Julia Vorontsova; Over (Privet)

In the manner of television game show hosts from the Sixties, Elsewhere is going to  . . .  "flip all the card" (to reveal the quiz question answer) and say . . .

We've rarely been interested in music as therapy.

Want help?

Get thee to a physik.

Of course, there is a long and rather exceptional tradition of soul-scouring albums by artists whose lives seem troubled if not downright tortured: Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Amy Winehouse, more recently Beyonce if we believe her Lemonade album) and . . .

However Julia Vorontsova --  a US-based Russian singer -- brings an uncommon intensity and focus to these songs (in Russian and Roma, explained in the liner notes ) on a collection which sound necessarily cathartic.

Her songs are an emotional cleansing (which we are a part of rather than being outside) and so here you can -- if you are prepared to go to her side -- experience a clearing house of coiled rage, fuck-you disappointment, dark passions and the bruising matters of relationships.

Which is not as bleak as that sounds.

Because we've been down such paths before with Polly Harvey and . . . Oh, just so many others.

However Vorotnsove is different because . . .

Here she and her band — electric guitar and strings -- place these songs in appealing and appropriate settings : Notably on the spare Prayer 2 and the childlike Air which pleasingly closes this hour-plus.

Sometimes the weakness in her vocal power fails on the more aggressive Oubliette and Alps, both pushed by sharp guitar from Zeke Zima.

But on the more insider songs -- the conversation between a young girl and a relative/friend who died, as on Gretchen, with disturbing ocarina and cello -- she pulls you into the vortex of her unnerving, dark place.

This – as with Marianne Faithfull, Marlene Dietrich, Scott Walker and others on the emotional precipice  – is not for the passer-by.

Not everything works, but mostly this is an commanding collection of self-analysis and observations given empathetic musical contexts.

This is music -- engagingly dark -- which confronts, heals and is therapeutic.

And believe me, Elsewhere is rarely persuaded that therapy is the purpose of music: But   Vorotnsove is one of those rare exceptions.

She is in the higher level of company and probably a bloody uncomfortable dinner guest

But, as with those illustrious others mentioned above, this is not an easy ride.

As the song says, "Only the strong survive".

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: Rough Guide to the Music of Malaysia (Rough Guide/Elite)

Various Artists: Rough Guide to the Music of Malaysia (Rough Guide/Elite)

It would take someone more expert than me to tell you whether this is a fair or failed overview of Malay pop and roots music. All I know is that it's pretty cool. There is big band Bollywood... > Read more

Imed Alibi: Safar (IRL)

Imed Alibi: Safar (IRL)

This excitingly exotic Arabic music by Tunisian percussionist Alibi has is given an effectively capacious production in a French studio and some dramatic orchestration by... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Barnaby Weir

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Barnaby Weir

Barnaby Weir out of Wellington, New Zealand, is best known as the man who steers the ambitious musical carnivals that are The Black Seeds and Fly My Pretties. But his 2011 debut solo album... > Read more

Dee's classic Kiwi cheese rolls

Dee's classic Kiwi cheese rolls

Dee says having spent the first 10 years of her life in Southland, every Kiwi should experience the warming delights of cheese rolls. Winter is a comin' on folks and Dee recommends this simple... > Read more