Lacy James: Circle of Swallows

New York based singer/songwriter Lacy James unleashes an album that promises to enchant and enlighten with Circle of Swallows.

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Lacy James explores that world  between the rhythmic and ethereal. Her sound scape is dreamy and fresh. Circle of Swallows contains songs that will appeal to fans of Shawn Colvin, Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan. The chords in Angels Bells  sound like they were made in heaven.

There is this childlike innocence in her songs.The pinch of alternative rock over a cup of  lullaby is just right. Her voice sounds a little bit shy though her releases go back as far as 1992. Old Languages is mystical. Movies like God’s Army or City of Angels could have used this song.

I checked her press release and found out the following. She has red hair. She also looks pretty in a classical way…you know, the kind that makes you think of Pre- Raphaelite women. She is based in New York.  Circle of Swallows has a collaboration with Seamus Egan (Osmosis Song) and I am sure Celtic music fans know him as part of the band Solas.

I found  that comparisons to Kate Bush, the Banshees and Tori Amos are evident-ha! So listening to Circle of Swallows is like taking a swim in a pond of swirling ambient, mesmerizing melodies and eclectic instruments. She also uses the voice layering technique but not so much for choral accuracy. They are for emotional effect.LJamesCirclesOfSwallowsAlbumArtDISKMAKERSb-600

Titles Like Practical Magic, Icarus and other tracks have New Agey/spiritual feel. There are acoustic instruments like the flute. There is also the upbeat electronic induced song called Dancing Out of the Dark. William of Tower sounds more like English folk while Today in the City starts slow   and hypnotic with jazzy rhythm. Devolution uses the sounds of nature while her voice takes a backseat. In this track, she turns it into a diaphanous ambient instrument washed with reverb and echo. I also noticed that Lacy James is a fan of atonal music and she uses little bits of this in her compositions.The title track ends the album complete with hammer dulcimer, soothing drums and ambient noise.

Circle of Swallows nods to all genres that fans of artists I mentioned above are known for. But she has her own sound. It must be her style of singing or her East Coast approach in writing songs but she is definitely original.

Visit the Lacy James Website to know more about this artist.

Big thanks to Chelsea Eriksen of  The Outlet Music Collective for providing me materials to listen to.

 

Prayer of St. Francis by Sarah Mclachlan

It has been a while since I last heard this song. I am plugging it again in case everyone has forgotten the value of kindness.

Sarah McLachlan is Back with Laws of Illusion

I know you have waited for years. After all Sarah McLachlan has put out nothing but quality albums. Some critics might not like this new one but it is OK. After all critics who write in big magazines like Billboard and Rolling Stones are not really music lovers. They just write for the purpose of getting paid every month and to stir up controversies. But we are real fans. And we know why we love her music. It is the elegance in her phrasing, the beautiful melodies and the angelic voice she has maintained and developed for years.

Laws of Illusion is an album that sounds like she has finally gone back to her roots. This is the kind of musical style that has forged albums like Touch, Solace and Fumbling Towards Ecstasy into timelessness. Surfacing is probably her biggest selling album ever. But it is a departure from her more daring vocal style and expansive melodic creations.  Afterglow is good but then again, it has lost the luster of earlier albums. Still, as fans we  got it because there are still memorable tracks like Fallen, Train Wreck and Time.

The new album(after years and years of waiting) offers more variety and instrumental richness. Songs like the guitar and rhythm driven first track Awakenings takes us back to her old rebellious self yet never losing that ethereal touch. Illusion of Bliss never fails to draw out emotions with its every note. So beautiful it can make the late John Lennon weep. Loving You is Easy sounds like a Beatles tribute with its bouncy piano intro and a totally Brit Pop style. Changes has the same kind of melodic richness . Other tracks that follow has the same vibrant and luminous effect upon me. Out of Tune is so beautiful it has all the perfection of song writing. Two tracks, Don’t Give Up on Us and You Want Me 2 already appeared on her The Best Of but they are really in place in this album in terms of style.

All in all Laws of Illusion delivers the goods as all Sarah McLachlan promises. Considering you lined up in front of record bars early just to get this album , I tell you it’s worth it!

Tracklisting:

1. “Awakenings” Sarah McLachlan 4:08
2. “Illusions of Bliss” (·) McLachlan, Pierre Marchand 3:53
3. “Loving You Is Easy” (·) McLachlan 3:03
4. “Changes” McLachlan, Marchand 3:44
5. “Forgiveness” (·) McLachlan, Marchand 3:49
6. “Rivers of Love” (·) McLachlan, Marchand 3:54
7. “Love Come” (·) McLachlan 3:33
8. “Out of Tune” McLachlan, Marchand 3:51
9. “Heartbreak” McLachlan, Marchand 4:07
10. “Don’t Give Up on Us” McLachlan, Marchand 3:37
11. U Want Me 2 McLachlan, Marchand 4:07
12. “Bring on the Wonder” Susan Enan 3:24
13. “Love Come” (Piano Version) McLachlan 4:04