Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lisa CUTHBERT: "Paramour"

Rating: RRR
Label: LS/PrescriptionPR 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Lisa Cuthbert's second full length album, "Paramour", the Progressive Art-Pop/Rock concept album based and inspired by the shocking stories from Ireland's now finally defunct Magdalene Asylums. I do type finally as it's merely been the odd twenty years since the last institute closed down. One of many scandals in the history of the Catholic Church. Not to exlude any other religion for that matter since they've all done wrong in the name of God. You may also recognize Cuthbert from her work with Anathema, Sister Of Mercy, or on tour as supporting act for Marillion.

It's the dark and disturbing story and we're dealing with the very soft Art-Pop concept album with grand piano and haunting vocals as main ingredient. I'm no expert on Irish folk-music (or anything else for that matter), but, I'd still say that Cuthbert's inspiration (vocal-wise) are the old traditional singers as well as the modern output of Stevie Nicks, Sinead O'Connor, Tori Amos, etc. It's the storytelling of the traditional singer/songwriter combined with the drama of above mentioned artists. An awful lot of ultra slow drama and ebony/ivory work and the album could benefit from a change of pace and the use of other instruments.

Opener, "Destitute", stunningly beautiful vocals and the real drama of a beginning. "Gartan Mother's Lullaby" and "Madame's Secret Pain", the definite sound of Ireland and their traditional folk songs of the past. "Run and Jump", the slow and very dramatic build-up piece ála Stevie Nicks, especially like her solo albums of the eighties. "The Sooner You Know" takes the piano drama to another dimension and the orchestration is a nice change - more of this next time please. "Libra" the intrumental piano number prior to the Sinead O'Connor-ish track of "This Kind of Sin". In fact, the very same Sinead O'Connor, (great artist and spokeswoman for/on organised religion, women's rights, war, child abuse, etc.) was at the age of 15! placed in a Magdalene Asylum/Laundries. By the way, when it comes to Miley Cyrus vs. O'Connor - I'll stand behind the latter any day of the week.

The existence of the asylums was not well known to the world, but surely Ireland must have known since we're talking about their daughters, sisters and mothers, until 1993 when an order of nuns, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, in Dublin sold part of their convent to a real-estate developer. The remains of 155 inmates who had been buried in unmarked graves on the property were found and reburied in a mass grave in Glasnevin Cemetery. Massive scandal of course and the women received a full state apology earlier this very year. "Paramour" is the proper concept album release by a proper artist. Nontheless, it's the nice, but not quite top notch experience. Superb vocalist. It's just a little bit too samey and laid-back in the long run. The end. And I didn't even mention the Pope and the whole papal infallibility. Oh crap. So close...
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