A Fine Frenzy - Pines
- By Nazreen Mahboob -
- Jan 30, 2013
American born singer-songwriter Alison Sudol, aka A Fine Frenzy, returns with ‘Pines’, her third and possibly most beautifully written record to date. The album, which benefits from a great mix of acoustics, demonstrates the wonderful and varied musicality of this alternative pop singer.
‘Pinesong’ kicks things off, with a slow stringed intro followed by the accompaniment of guitar and soft, tender vocals. The track opens the album perfectly, Sudol’s exceptional vocals and captivating compositions drawing the listener in. The album creates a strong naturalistic feeling, this is clearly heard at the start of ‘Winds of Wander’ with birds calling and charming piano notes accompanied by deep strings and acoustic guitar, creating a dream-like feel. A strong drumbeat then heralds the start of ‘Avalanches’, which benefits from charismatic lyrics and strong narrative.
The ghostly feel to ‘Riversong’ slows the tempo, allowing you to fully appreciate the lyrics. Sudol’s gentle vocals manage to create an eerie mood with a dark feel of strings and piano. ‘The Sighting’ is an album highlight, with echoing vocals and elegant piano melodies set against some beautiful themes.
‘Dream in the Dark’ is a delicate acoustic number with lightly sung words and elements of ukulele, which is then offset by the more upbeat ‘Sailing Song’, with its faster tempo and catchy lyrics. ‘Sadseasong’ begins as you'd expect, given the title, with the sound of the sea and a creaking boat wreckage sinking. The track sets a melancholy mood along with violins and piano, Sudol’s slow and whispered vocals reflects this.
‘Dance of the Gray Whales’ brings the album back down to a slower pace, the notes being projected so very lightly against the noise of whales. While ‘It’s Alive’ has an intriguing vocal blend, making for a distinct beat. This track, compared to others on the album, has a stronger pop influence and is the most upbeat offering on show. However the norm is restored by closer ‘Untitled (Grasses Grow)’, a piano led melody with more heart felt lyrics, drawing the record to an enthralling close.
Pines is definitely an album that delivers a unique listening experience, exploring a range of emotions and energies. Each song has something different; with a mixture of varying tempos and clearly defined melodies. Quirky style and sweet lyrics, perfectly performed by Alison Sudol – definitely worth a spin.
By Nazreen Mahboob.
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