Christine Leakey - Wanderlust Wishing Well - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Christine Leakey - Wanderlust Wishing Well

by Bill Golembeski Rating:7 Release Date:2017-03-10

Christine Leakey’s new album, Wanderlust Wishing Well, is, well, an oddball cup of tea. I’ll just cite her own website: “a blend of dreamy neo sike(sic), cinematic, orchestrated pop, experimental folk. Circus, jazz, lounge, psychedelic…”

Whew…I had a flashback to ordering a Big-Mac (two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, onions, cheese, pickles, on a sesame seed bun” for those who are too young to remember!)

This album promises quite a bit. And, oddly enough, it delivers the goods. Now, just a reference point: this is not the “folk” music of say, Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny, Vashti Bunyan, or even the lesser known Linda Perhacs (who appears on this record). No, this lives up to its self-proclaimed hype, and then some. But, to be fair, for the faint-hearted folk singer purist who may be intrigued by the wolves and woodland scene on the cover, well, travel at your own risk.

The first song, “Twinkle,” is pop music, with a John Lennon-Beatles feel. Quite frankly, it was a bit of a surprise, a surprise that continued with the introduction of a brief horn and sax interlude. This honestly isn’t my usual listening fare (even being a big lover of those 70’s folk singers), but after a few listens, it does present itself as, if nothing else, catchy pop music. “One and One Is Two” is more of the same, a bit breezy this time, but the horns return to add a “Spanish” flavor. Again, as much as I want to complain, it is well-done dreamy pop.  

“Far and Away” is the “experimental folk” listed on the website. This, in contrast to the map of the album so far, is quite dark and dramatic with deeply intoned vocals set against a backdrop of swirling instruments and electronic effects.

Then a match is lit, Christine intones, “Frankly man, I don’t give a damn.” And it is Latin dance time. Yes, that’s right. “Frankly Man” is dance-friendly (for lovers of the samba and tango). Vocals deepen and stretch over the heavy percussion. There’s some other-worldly background singing as the dance continues. This leads to the song, “Kissy Poo,” which is slow and sinister, until… the big kiss sound effect (!) after which enters a hummable “kissy poo” melody that sounds like a song from a 60’s movie. So after that, it’s lounge piano time. “Don’t turn my red heart blue,” Christine sings in a slow jazzy voice and sounds, at least to me, like Anita O’ Day, one of my favorites from the big-band ballad era.

Hopefully, this review serves its purpose: This is a highly eclectic vocal album. The songs left me wondering and, partly out of pure interest, wanting more. “Walks Like an Angel” returns to a nice folk sound. “Tailspin” rekindles the lounge jazz, and “Sweet Dreams” introduces a sitar for an Eastern vibe. And, if that is not enough, “Dance Dans Le Discoteque Avec Toulouse Lautrec ” is a hybrid of circus music, French cabaret, and then a bit of opera.

Get the picture? Actually, this is, as I said, an odd-ball cup of tea. It’s well-done, with a slew of great musicians helping out. Check the fine print: Yes, that’s Maurizio Guarini from Goblin! But don’t expect any horror soundtrack music. No, quite frankly, it’s an eclectic trip over a rather broad and weird musical road map. It’s truly an adventurous vocal pop record. But trust me. This isn’t for the folk purist.

Check out Chritine Leakey's Pledge Music page here,


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