This is a hugely mature offering, steeped in the twilight world of leaf strewn...
Rob Crossan 2008-03-27
Dawn Kinnard grew up in Pennsylvania, though from the sound of this singer-songwriter's first album you'd think that she's spent her entire life nestled on the steps of the bars and churches of the South, which, suitably, is where she was first discovered- in a tiny bar in Nashville, Tennessee.
This album positively drips with Southern Gothic sleeplessness and anxiety with Kinnard's voice a constant lipstick-smeared, whiskey-glass-rolling-across-an-overworn-bar presence.
Kinnard's tone is oft compared to KT Tunstall but in reality is more like a weatherbeaten relative of Nina Persson of The Cardigans. Bolshy, angular guitar riffs swirl and uncoil around the crepuscular uptightness of the lyrics of Devil's Flame where Kinnard does battle with the kind of agnostic brow-beating that the Arcade Fire have been so far calling their own: ''You can't curl up you can't crawl away. You can't tell God you have a mental illness and you're exempt for the day''.
The highlight is the bluesy, string-drenched sweetness of Fortune Teller, a stunning evocation of confessed regret and caprice with Kinnard's voice rolling like a gentle tide through the dusty halls of a long closed seaside cabaret hall.
Collaborators include Cerys Matthews and Ed Harcourt, who duets as the doleful critic, counterpointing Kinnard's innocent declarations of desire on album centerpiece Clear The Way. Matthews, a fellow converted denizen of the Deep South co-writes the stop-start snarl of One Little Step Away.
This is a hugely mature offering, steeped in the twilight world of leaf strewn verandas and slow footsteps, with Kinnard's voice and lyrics a hugely charismatic mixture of deflated thrills and whispered promises of the future.