Friday, November 9, 2012

REVIEW: Jo Mango - Murmuration

Indie-folk encompasses a broad range of musical styles, from quiet and gentle to loud and energetic, sincere to sly, sad to humorous.  Murmuration, the first LP from Glasgow indie-folk artist Jo Mango in six years, arrives like a whisper on the sea breeze.  The pure tone of her vocals barely audible over the minimal arrangements, the phrasing deliberate and seemingly directed inward.  The listener has the sense that he is being permitted to overhear a musical diary.  And it is beautiful.

The first track is "The Black Sun", which also was included in the soundtrack for a feature film --

Jo wasn't idle in between albums.  She obtained her doctorate in musicology and collaborated with numerous other artists.

The first single from the album is "Cordelia", which is available at this link for "name your price".

The songwriting on Murmuration is excellent, but the things that stand out the most for this listener are the quality of Jo's vocals, and the tasteful restraint in the arrangements.  With respect to the former, the vocals are note-perfect and phrased to allow the words to sink in.  With respect to the latter, while this set of songs leave enough aural space to invite an artist and producer to experiment and gild, thankfully, they resist the urge and craft details in way that seem to be nothing less than essential.  And it may be this attribute of the album that pushes it ahead of many of the offerings available in indie-folk.

Murmeration is out now on Scotland's fine Olive Grove Records.

Olive Grove Records

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