Julie Feeney – pages

January 01, 1970

(Mittens)

 

www.juliefeeney.com

 

Julie Feeney’s pages brings new meaning to the term D.I.Y. This album by the Irish artist – whose 13 songs won her nation’s 2006 Choice
Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year – is a long way from the scruffiness
of, say, the Replacements’ Sorry Ma, I
Forgot to Take Out the Trash.
Working at an artist retreat, she penned her
lyrics (“thought-copies,” she calls them) in isolation. Next, still working
alone, she wrote orchestral arrangements for each – parts for horns, strings,
percussion, harp. Then she conducted the Irish Chamber Orchestra in a single
recording session, followed by Feeney overlaying her multiple vocal tracks.

 

The result is a kind of mini-symphonic pop – a worthy listen
for anyone who has followed the development of such music from Brian Wilson to
Petra Haden’s choral, a cappella interpretation of The Who Sell Out. And when the process provides texture and coloration to songs whose lyrical
directness is clear, the results are very appealing – “Love Is a Tricky Thing”
and “Impossibly Beautiful,” for instance. Yet, at a certain point, the
carefully orchestrated conceptualism of this may have you wishing for the
anarchic messiness of the Replacements. There are two problems: At times, the
vocals have a pinched, processed sound too reminiscent of auto-tuning. And
also, some of the songwriting lacks conviction and struggles with prosaic
wordiness that obfuscates purpose. “Time
for thrills without the big dreams/reality reminds of Tolstoy’s themes/Torment
rips around the being/but funnily life feels too good to believe him…”
from
“Life’s Nudge” is an example. When that happens, you’re left admiring the idea
of pages more than the final result.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Impossibly
Beautiful,” “Grace” STEVEN ROSEN

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