Monday, May 30, 2011

CD Review: Cerys Matthews' 'Explorer'


Rainbow City

The Welsh singer of Catatonia fame graces her voice on the thirteen magnificent tracks of music spanning a few continents. Specifically, Cerys incorporates a little Spanish, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and American sensibilities, styles, and genres. Cerys' unique voice flirts with the tenderness of Leigh Nash with the bluesy grittiness of Trish Murphy and the downtempo moods of Geike Arnaert. As the title suggest, Explorer is an album of historic songs with a contemporary flair and a host of eclectic instruments spanning generations and countries. For instance, most Welsh albums do not incorporate the kalimba, oud, or Chinese temple blocks in their repertoire. This is where Cerys astonishes the listener with a varied collection of songs that seem to sound more like blues on "How Can You Say So Little When You Talk So Much" and "Avalanche." While "Galleon" suggests a more contemporary composition littered with Hooverphonic cues. The playful "Connemara Cradle Song" is a tune even adults can enjoy. Cerys' whispy voice easily morphs into a blues or folk groove without over-powering the instruments. A perfect album for the 'explorer' in your family! ~ Matthew Forss

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