Saturday, 11 February 2017

Album: Miriam Donohue - Paperscapes

Miriam Donohoe Paperscapes Abi Denniston
Photo: Abi Denniston


Miriam Donohue - Bookmarks


Info: Miriam is a singer songwriter from Galway, who is based in Dublin. Inspired by the likes of Regina Spektor, Paul Simon and Suzanne Vega, her music is a blend of modern folk, pop and jazz that is brought to life by her enchanting voice. A natural raconteur Miriam breathes music into her stories with her well crafted lyrics and velveteen vocals.

Lead single 'Bookmarks' (above) opens Paperscapes by Miriam Donohue, which was released late last year. It's an instantly engaging start, effortlessly rhythmic and melodic, the song chugs like a locomotive, and Donohue's lyrics are moving and delivered with a sincere authenticity. Following track 'Dollar Avenue' has a bone fide classic 60's folk feel, accentuated by the well selected additional instrumentation of flute and a jazz-style percussion, it's a true stroll through downtown Greenwich Village without a care in the world.

Again the instrumentation is subtle yet rich on 'Firefly', a soothing and calm affair, where Donohue's vocal echoes gently through the dark, in a way that you feel like the sole audience member at an old world theatre, deprived of all of your senses apart from your hearing. 'Morrigan' takes on a country hue, with a dash of Spanish sounding guitar progressions. At this point you absolutely feel like you are a detached character observing the scenes in her stories, Paperscapes creating little worlds for us to explore whilst Donohue creates the soundtrack and allows us to wander unhindered.

Miriam Donohue - Street Car


Her self-ascribed more contemporary influences come through strongly on another single, 'Street Car' (above), it's sound is that of mid-90's folk singer-songwriter, Suzanne Vega indeed, and a dash of Tori Amos' calmer moments. Like opener 'Bookmarks' it's an uplifting and positive number, and it solidifies the overall feeling of warmth that is consistently found across the album.

As the artist moves between folk, country, alt-rock and jazz, the expansive dabbling in different genres continues on 'Born To Love', there's a subtle funky groove to both percussion and vocals here, the latter of which also delves into a soul-jazz sound. I'm not entirely sure why, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this feeling, but I often take great pleasure when a journey across an album ends on a sweet and calming moment of reflection, this is the case with the final track, 'Nuts and Bones', a lovely exemplar of Donohue's crisp, clean and endearing voice. Paperscapes is an impact album, it carries you gently through it's different phases, in an almost therapeutic manner, you feel that she has written these songs for others rather than for herself, and I think that's one of the major strengths of the LP, that it focuses entirely on the listener. 


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