Anne Marie Almedal - Memory Lane (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
NORWEGIAN songstress Anne Marie Almedal releases her latest collection of folk songs yet struggles to impress.
The album has a gentle beauty about it by virtue of her serene vocals. But taken as a whole, it’s just too subtle and under-stated despite the presence of some great producers and accompanying musicians.
Memory Lane was produced by Nicholas Sillitoe and mixed by John Wood (producer/engineer for Nick Drake, John Cale, Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd, to name but a few). And it also features Danny Thompson (Nick Drake, John Martyn, Kate Bush and Talk Talk), Grammy award-winning guitarist Kjetil Grande, Katharine Blake (of Miranda Sex Garden) and Conrad Lambert (Merz).
But while skitting back and forth between the organic sounds of their ’60s and ’70s folk influences and embracing the dark, introspective lyrics that the Scandinavians are well known for, the songs seldom capture the imagination as they might.
Too often, the tracks rely on sparse instrumentals and a melancholy undertow that over the course of the album becomes a little wearying. While the lack of much pace also makes it feel like a long listen.
Of the couple of songs that do stand out,Two Of A Kind benefits from background vocals from Nicholas Sillitoe and the use of Irish bouzouki, 12-string guitar and ukulele among its instrumentals. But even then, the use of them is very subtle.
The use of violins and viola on both Memory Lane and Winter Song also lend those tracks a little more immediacy and further interest (Memory Lane, in particular, is one song that enchants).
While final track The Wanderers has some interesting vocal arrangements throughout (which veer towards the hymnal, or even Enya-like at times), ending the album with something of a flourish.
But these are the exceptions to the general rule… and that is an album that never really grabs your attention for long enough periods of time.
Download picks: Two Of A Kind, Memory Lane, The Wanderers