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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dan Ar Bras - Douar Nevez 'Terre Nouvelle' – Finally, the long-awaited reissue of Dan Ar Bras' compelling first album. This is a very unique music, with wide-ranging influences, all served up in an inventive mix of moods and styles that pleases...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues