Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Album Review: Naoise Roo - 'Lilith'

Naoise Roo Lilith

Naoise Roo, 'Oh Son'

Info: Dublin-based rock chanteuse Naoise Roo and her band are certainly about to become one of the hottest tickets in town following the release of her debut album Lilith next week, on the 27th of April. At the single launch of 'For You' in March at The Workman's Club I went in having only heard that song but came away enjoying the entire set without exception, always a massive plus for me and it whets the appetite for what will be in store once you become more familiar with the rest of the music. Lilith has fast become one of my favourite albums this year for some quite straight-forward reasons, firstly the musical style is familiar in parts but feels like a brand new listening experience at the same time. I agree with the comparisons with the wonderful Anna Calvi, mostly from singles 'Desire' and 'Suzanne & I', but the contemporary is tempered by older sounds, especially live, there's a little bit of a Big Brother & The Holding Company with Joplin package going on with the entire band, I must point out that it's more Roo's on stage energy rather than vocals that conjure this comparison, which are somewhere closer to the jazzy Laura Nyro and Annie Lennox. 

Naoise Roo, 'For You'

Lilith itself spoils you as a listener, drifting between a tight selection of genres including alternative rock, blues and post-punk, Roo's vocals feel like black oil seeping slowly around an unsuspecting victim's head before getting inside and consuming you entirely, much like a fly who thinks he's too big to get stuck in this web, best exemplified on one of my favourite tracks on the album, 'Whore'. There's also a pained but confident darkness in the music and vocals at times, 'For You' ,for example, contains the despondent but thought-provoking line; 'I never pray for myself these days', something you might expect from balladeer Nick Cave. 

Another highlight is the catchy and swinging blues number 'Sheets', starting out like a 1920's cabaret performance it builds up to a bursting joyful operatic finale. 'Stand In Black' perhaps best captures what you might expect at a live performance from Roo and band, moody, deep down and dirty and soulful all at the same time, there are some nice subtle guitar effects providing the back drop to the grime here and it sounds cool and smooth the whole way through. Lilith finishes very strongly with a soul-baring performance on 'Tie Me Up - Tie Me Down', piano that wouldn't sound amiss on an early Nina Simone recording and beautifully controlled trembling vocals from Roo. I don't recall hearing an album like this by any Irish artist, female or male, I stand to be corrected, but I think this is perhaps the main reason Lilith has resonated with me in a way, it has new sounds that I can relate to, but old sounds that I love.

Naoise Roo Lilith Album Review
Design: Jamie Murphy

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