Another Fine Frenzy

Another Fine Frenzy

Alison Sudol has a new album out, and it’s a bit of a departure from her first. It’s more up-tempo, but retains her trademark vocals, her sweetness, intelligence and vulnerability. For some, it may be somewhat too sweet, too pixie-like. But a few listens reduces that effect and gives space to a fine singer/songwriter — one who has been greatly influenced by Lewis Caroll and C.S. Lewis, among writers, and Johny Cash, Bob Dylan and The Talking Heads, among musicians. She has also toured with Rufus Wainright and Brandi Carlile, who must have influenced the young singer as well.

Beautiful pixies need a place to express themselves, too, and Alison makes her case for that in her sophomore effort, and especially in her video, Blow Away. She says in her notes:

This album is dedicated to the thunderous king, the muse, the mad scientist . . . the beacon. Wherever our paths may lead us, this, and always will be, ours . . .

 In a song entitled Stood Up, Alison produces a fighting hymn with twists for social justice against the odds:

We are not frightened anymore,
we stood up, we stood up
and there are two of us there will be more,
they’ll show up, yeah they’ll show up
they’ll show up

blame a change of mind
a seismic shift in times
they told us not to fight
but we’ll fight it till we die

cos’ we are not frightened anymore,
we stood up, we stood up
and there are two of us there will be more,
they’ll show up, yeah they’ll show up
they’ll show up

and so they sunk every ship we sailed
but we stood up, we stood up
and they fought hard, but somewhere fighting failed
they’re all shook up, they’re all shook up
all shook up

steel and concrete break
beneath the steady waves
of fearless hope and grace
in kindness there is strength.

 For this listener, Elements is the most emotionally satisfying song on the album. It soars, but it leaves too soon. I hope on her next album, she lingers longer with us, has more confidence in our ability to stay with her, and knows that we can do what E.M. Forster suggested: Only Connect.

if the sea should swallow up my house
I will turn my rooftop inside out and the wind will be wailing
But I will be sailing faster
Oh the elements I do not fear but I fall apart when you appear
Cos you are the greatest
The greatest disaster

 

Alison in angelic form in this video . . .

Blow Away

 

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