alela diane Cusp (LP, £15.75)
Alela Diane returns with the long-awaited follow up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed About Farewell (AllPoints, formerly Believe Recordings). Whilst both albums could be described as born of love, Cusp is perhaps love at its purest, and most complex - for in music, one of the most transformative experiences a woman can have is also an unspoken artistic taboo: Have a baby if you must. But for goodness’ sake, don’t write songs about it. Portland, Oregon based singer-songwriter Alela Diane has a problem with that. “This music is about motherhood,” Alela says of Cusp. “Even just by saying that, it feels like people will write you off. As women, our music is sold based on our sex-appeal. There’s a lack of spaces for women to move into that aren’t based on appearance. Those are conversations I’m interested in having.” Cusp was written in January 2016 in a small cabin deep within snowy woods where Alela resided during a three-week artist residency at Caldera, Oregan, alone for the first time since becoming a mother. A broken thumbnail resulted in Alela’s signature finger-plucking being replaced by songwriting on a grand piano, resulting in the most piano driven album of her career, fueled by that energy that only comes with facing and falling in love with something new. Tracks: Albatross / The Threshold / Moves us Blind / Emigre / Never Easy / Song For Sandy / Buoyant / Ether & Wood / Yellow Gold / So Tired / Wild Ceaseless Song. “Beautiful” - Marc Riley, BBC 6 Music. “The smokiness and warmth of Diane’s voice wraps you up in a blanket of gentle guitar strums and robust piano chords” - Paste Magazine. “Gentle, rueful, often beautiful” - Uncut.
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