Product Reviews

Product: Crystal Grenade - Lo! And Behold
Date: 2013-12-21 

Lo! And Behold

When you’re a female singer with a swooping acrobatic voice, you play dramatic piano and sing torch song ballads with themes of emotional angst, isolation and self-examination, there’s every chance you’re going to get likened to Tori Amos. Especially if, as on Changed, you borrow the piano motif from Silent All These Years.

Seven-fingered Mancunian Carol Hodge wears her influences openly, but in addition to Amos she also ()like Hazel O’Connor) draws heavily on European cabaret, a touchstone also reflected in the album’s conceptual framework of life in an 1880s Freak Show, setting the scene with the brief Welcome to the Freakshow opener before plunging into the likes of You Could Have Lived, 19892 Man, Lost For Words, the jittery Take Aim!, a bluesy Go Round Twice and the death-shaded Shape of Things and a nihilistic Nothing To Do With Me.

Her lyrics are well worth spending time over, and you get the impression that she wrote with a view to theatrical production, something compounded by the musically thematic cues that connect the songs. Given the intensity and uniformity of tone, it doesn’t make for an immediate impact but repeated listens ensure it coils its way under the skin. The problem is, of course, that if you don’t like Tori Amos you probably won’t like this, and if you do you may wonder why you’d want a second copy. Believe me, pull the pin on this grenade and you’ll be blown away.

Lo! And Behold
CD - £9.99

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