Sunday, July 4, 2010

CD Review: LUCIE THORNE - BLACK ACROSS THE FIELD (Little Secret / Vitamin Records)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opening with the gentle plucked swells of escapist ballad As You Find It Lucie Thorne’s understated guitar and vocal interplay rolls in like a fog. As with the whole album, Thorne sings from places she knows well. Following the Nick Drake theory of ‘no matter how loud you turn it up, it’s still quiet,’ Thorne cuts her own niche from the acoustic masses by specialising in gently percolating nocturnes that could be penned by PJ Harvey after waking in a Tasmanian poppy field.

Roping in an impressive ensemble including everyone’s pianist of choice Chris Abrahams (does that man sleep? Judging by his somnambulistic contributions herein it seems not, and that Thorne has benefited from it), the similarly ubiquitous David Symes and Hamish Stuart round out the rhythm section while Thorne’s able guitar playing is enhanced by Stephen Magnusson’s fluid contributions.

Thorne is quite clearly in no hurry to find her audience and this attitude comes through in the music, strong, wilful and as if beamed in from a remote corner of this island. That she was raised in Northern Tasmania and lives in a tiny town in the south of New South Wales fits the mood of the album perfectly. Occasionally her accent curls words in a way that almost detracts from the lush but simple world she creates, it’s a habit that clearly doesn’t bother Waifs fans and won’t bother most listeners, but it roots her in the here and now and probably sounds exotic to her overseas fans.

There is an appealing looseness to the songs in a way that keeps things from being too measured and a warm lulling quality should appeal to anyone looking for an escape from a cold clinical world. Northern Town, the gentle valve-crunch of Alice, the gossamer light Before The Cold and the upbeat and probable single The Basic Rules show that Thorne has a lot on her mind and poetic and original way of expressing it. A bright star rising, and one worth all the attention she receives.

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