Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Like a hiding, like a shade (Lene Marlin)

Lene Marlin is my most recent discovery.

I love it when I chance upon someone new and they have a sizeable back catalogue for me to track down. The last one was John Mayer (see an earlier post). Now it's Lene's turn.

She came to my notice via a sampler called Divas. A double CD - it cost me 30 dirham from Carrefour and contained one amazing stand out song - Sitting Down Here. It was good enough to bear repeat listens and then to check out the credits to see who it was by. The voice is what hooked me. Her voice is so different but, paradoxically, it is also the sort of thing I'd hear on Radio 2 if I was in the UK.

Not knowing anything about her, I thought (like I initially did with John Mayer) that she was a pop oriented singer.

Not long after these repeat listens, I started to think about tracking down an album.
I managed to locate an album in the Virgin Megastore at Dubai's Mall Of The Emirates on the weekend. Called Another Day - it turns out it's her second album (she's got four out).

I was unprepared for the greatness of the whole album. Again - like John Mayer - it turns out she has hidden melodic depths and the voice that hooked me from Sitting Down Here is not found on the second album. It's even better. Weird.

I literally can't stop listening to the album. It's especially good at night - all swirly mood pieces and ethereal sounding. With only 10 songs on it I am left wanting more so I just hit play again after it ends.

Turns out Lene is from Sweden and that seems appropriate given the aural landscape she occupies on the album.

She is really unlike anything else I've heard. Usually you can trace a female singer/songwriters' DNA back to either Joni (the pop side) or Joan (folk) or Grace (the rock chick). She's not a folkie so discount Joan. She's not a confessional writer so that's a no to Joni as well. She doesn't make any of the normal rock moves so it's a third no to Grace. If anything there are hints of Aimee Mann in her vocal delivery. But they are only hints. And her songs are not similar to Aimee's in delivery or structure. Lene is one out of the box!

Exciting. A new discovery. Now I'm on a mission to track down the other three CDs.

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