Exposé Online banner

She Owl — She Owl
(Broken Toys BRT002, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-12-10

She Owl Cover artThere's something to be said for the simplicity of a songwriter just sitting at a piano and singing his or her songs. When it works, the directness and intimacy can be very affecting. Of course, if it doesn't work, it can be pretty horrid, but that's true of any type of music. She Owl (formerly known as Jolanda) is an Italian singer who gets it right on this set. The piano playing isn't flashy, and while the singing isn't full of pyrotechnic power and acrobatics, her voice has a warmth and a depth of expression that many more technical singers could learn from. Her low register is particularly strong, not so androgynous as Happy Rhodes, but deeper in tone than Tori Amos or Kate Bush. The opener, "Homewoods," sets the mood immediately with ambiguous chords that don't settle into a single key, and her low breathy tone conveys a melancholy feeling. Some very subtle atmospheric electric guitar from her partner Demian Endian sneaks in, hardly there but expanding the palette very nicely. The title track adds some sparse percussion for emphasis, along with some little flourishes on the piano to contrast with the fourths and fifths in the basic chords. Most of the parameters of the set are in place now, and it's a matter of mixing them up for variety. "Over the Bones" is a favorite, with a bouncy 3/4 rhythm and beautiful vocal harmonies in its break. She takes advantage of the freedom afforded by working solo to vary the tempos in songs in ways that would be awkward for a band. "Decembers" has a delicate verse and a chorus at a faster tempo. A few tracks, like "Behind the Stars," find her switching from acoustic piano to electric — another way she uses to maintain interest over the course of the album. You'll also find bits of autoharp, ukulele, toy piano, and even gamelan scattered here and there. All in all, a lovely set of tunes to get lost in, a magical place where a beautiful voice wraps you in a soft embrace and tells you it's okay to be lost and not afraid.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Jolanda Moletta / She Owl

More info
http://sheowl.bandcamp.com

Latest news

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Clepsydra - Fears – Swiss quintet Clepsydra sport your typical neo-prog lineup of vocals/guitar/bass/keys and drums and on Fears they hold true to the neo-prog sound. Early Marillion comes to mind, especially on the...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues