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Nancy Elizabeth – Wrought Iron: Album Review

A Second Victory for the Lancashire Girl

Written by Paul Hanford

Nancy Elizabeth by Emily Dennison 3

The choice of music you hear and the surroundings you hear that music in have always acted as unconscious bedfellows for appreciation. Back in the 70s Brian Eno popularised a dialogue between recorded music and listening surroundings with his Ambient works, visit this site now in October 2009 I am having my very own, viagra dosage accidentally arrived at synergy.

The music: second album from Nancy Elizabeth, more about a UK folkster who since debut Battle and Victory has been cementing her reputation with collaborations as diverse as James Yorkston and Susumu Yokota.

The location: my folks’ place.

Nancy Elizabeth by Emily Dennison 1

The favourability of this review may be in no small part be down to current personal circumstances. I am lying up recovering from the worst virus of my life in exile from the city in remotest, deepest Dorset. The experience of listening to Wrought Iron – an album seemingly made to fill the vast, damp and natural spaces of an autumnal countryside – echoes my current sensibilities.

Is it a surprise the press release makes a big deal of the isolated manor of the album’s writing process in rural Wales, Spain and the Faroe Islands? It is a strange, muted album, best listened to without a great deal of volume, although not to suggest Elizabeth has made an album of background music in any sense: this is music that has actively reproduced an atmosphere.

Nancy Elizabeth by Emily Dennison 2

Piano led, mostly beat less. Occasional brass, xylophones and other acoustic instruments play firm supporting characters, bucking up but never stealing the limelight from her piano and her often dry recorded voice.

I first put the CD on a week ago, lying back on a sunbed surrounded by trees and in constant gratitude the Indian summer is holding out for another day. The bird singing is real, around me, but could be part of the recording. On branches near me spiders are frantically spinning webs and the bees are trudging around on their last searches for fresh fauna to pollinate. I am living in a virtual reality of this album.

Nancy Elizabeth by Harold Thompson

A week passes, the virus comes and goes, phasing in and out like an unwelcome guest refusing to leave a long finished party. It’s raining. Autumn has set. The grass outside is filling up with apples too lazy or ripe to hang onto the browning trees. The album takes on new levels of melancholy; there’s something of the wistfulness of Nick Drake, in the lovely way Tow The Line descends into its chorus. It dips, like its revealing a truth that is only safe to mutter. The Act has a guitar line and brave sparsity that conjure Talk Talk at their most victorious, that played with any more force, would evaporate its minor key beauty out of existence.

This is music that hangs in open spaces and small corners so long as both are bereft of people. It is an isolated one on one dialogue with surroundings.

It is also another small victory of quality for The Leaf Label, who for well over ten years now have acted as a bastion of the more accessible end of what a Wire subscriber’s CD buying money goes on.


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