Album Review: Lisa Knapp – Hidden Seam

Hidden Seam by Lisa Knapp is a modern day take on a folk style, the tracks have an overall theme of the sea and all things natural.  Lisa voice is sometimes soft and gentle and sometimes more forceful either way she sings in a predominantly high tone with a slightly “spooky” eerie sound throughout.  Maybe her voice could be best compared to that of maybe Bjork however Lisa voice is certainly quite distinct and unique.  Lisa’s partner, Gerry Diver who has produced this album has also brought his own influences as well as an impressive range of collaborations with various that include James Yorkston, Marry Waterson, Alasdair Roberts and Kathryn Williams, while Martin Carthy and Pete Flood also make a contribution to this album.

The albums opening track has an unusual theme to it, as its title suggests “shipping song” is about shipping and consists of a BBC Radio style walkthrough of the UK’s shipping regions spoken in the main rather than sung in an almost poetic form.  Although unusual this track has a hunting and hypnotic sense about it that leaves you with a feeling of calm and relaxation post this epic maritime journey.

There are two particular tracks on the album that combined tell a storey of two sides of the month of May, “hunt the hair Part one” and “hunt the hair part two” both a duet with Alasdair Roberts, the second track of has to be the stand out track on the album with a simple yet unforgettable melody and a great set of lyrics that really suited Lisa’s voice.  Another track worthy of pointing out is “Two Ravens” this is a mournful track who’s subject is Alzheimer’s seen through the eyes of the singer, a powerful track that will leave the listener thinking.

Ruler Of The Rest has am almost eastern rhythm to it with a rich string backing sounds, while Black Horse on the other hand consists of and intricate mix of looped vocal sounds, not always voices, this creates a swirling mix of complex sounds overlaid which you can hear Lisa’s vocals.

The final track on the album is a collaboration with Kathryn Williams who Joins Lisa on Hushabye. The track has good harmonies and is gentle as it should be for a song of this title. The song includes a nod to the opening shipping forecast song mentioning “Rockall – rain at first mainly fair – slight or moderate.”  The song in this way brings this album to its natural conclusion and delivers a calming end, maybe like pouring oil on water to calm the storm.

Maybe not for everyone but fans of Lisa will love this album.  It really does show of Lisa’s unique vocal style and has some great almost experimental sounds on it.

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Review by Andy Weller

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