Julie Feeney – pages

January 01, 1970





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…”
“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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