Susan Enan - Plainsong

Published Friday 12th February 2010
Susan Enan - Plainsong
Susan Enan - Plainsong

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 86233-16307
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Tom Lennie

Susan hails from Cambridgeshire from where she moved to Liverpool to study music as a young adult. Here she also played the local singer/songwriter scene and developed a liking for the music of Woody Guthrie, "I love that combination in art; simplicity that goes right to the soul but doesn't have to bypass the brain on the way", she says. A move to Northern Ireland saw the release of several EPs and a three month US tour with Over The Rhine, this in turn led to a move to New York in 2005. Several years in the making, 'Plainsong' is a self-produced disc, recorded in five different countries, much of it in Enan's small home studio in Brooklyn. As the title suggests, the album is a collection of simple tunes with the predominance of vocals and minimal accompaniment. Enan's delicately emotive vocals are immediately and consistently captivating, and the delivery is moody and at times melancholy reminding this listener of Sherri Youngward. Though the tempo is generally downbeat, the quirky infectiousness of several tunes prohibits any sense of depression or dreariness. The emotiveness of many songs is enhanced by the use of graceful cello. Like the music itself (mainly acoustic guitar or piano based), song themes are simple and uncluttered, but notably thoughtful and arresting. As with her Ohio tour-buddies, any spiritual reference is subtle, being most noticeable on "Monoplain" and "Bring On The Wonder" ("Bring on the wonder/We got it all wrong/We've pushed you down deep in our souls for too long"). A beautiful recording, 'Plainsong' has already received acclaim - thoroughly deserved in my opinion.

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