Lacrymosa - Selah - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Lacrymosa - Selah

by Priscilla Eyles Rating:6.5 Release Date:2010-10-10

Lacrymosa is the moniker for 20-year old Virginian Caitlin Pasko, a precocious talent who was taught classical piano from a young age. And her strong piano playing ability is certainly what comes to the fore on this her debut album; reminding you of the virtuoso talents of Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Regina Spektor, with her ability to deftly shift moods from grand to playful, frenzied to delicate. A musicality which is showcased in songs such as 'If You Are Looking' with its sudden changes of tempo or 'Good at Heart' with its dramatic chords and staccato rhythms.

She describes her music as "whimsical forest music" and in this aspect she bears a strong resemblance to that other queen of whimsy, Joanna Newsom. Her songs feature "tiny horses", "fields of gold" and "lilies", "buttercups" which can decide whether someone loves you, and "lions" who are "afraid of humans" - you get the picture. This naïve pastoral imagery can sometimes get a bit much, like the musings of a teenager who spends too much time daydreaming, where it is much more potent, poetic and earthy with Newsom.

Her voice too can over-emote at times, sounding a lot like she's half-sighing, half-singing which can get distracting. Given that, it is also often an achingly beautiful voice, her pure far-reaching soprano tones strongly resembling great singers such as Marissa Nadler, Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan or Hanne Huckkelberg.

The arrangements for the songs sensitively complement this voice and are usually limited to the piano with the occasional addition of a chamber group of strings, wind and percussion. The chamber group (credits unfortunately unavailable at time of publication) in particular lend a wonderfully otherworldly aspect to album highlights such as wistful opener 'Not About Want' and the elegiac 'Simple Questions', and add a richness to the jaunty and charming 'You Put Me There'.

Selah, then, certainly isn't flawless or entirely unique but it does show lots of promise.

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