15 August 2006

Emiliana Torrini: A Joanna Newsom for the Rest of Us

I wanted to like Joanna Newsom--I really did. There aren't nearly enough vocalists playing instruments other than guitar, and I suspect that her deliberately obscured rhythms would delight a musician who's interested in thinking about that sort of thing; but it just feels obstructivist to me in the end.

Emiliana Torrini has some of the same babylike vocal qualities that Joanna Newsom shares with Björk and Anais Mitchell; but it doesn't feel like she's trying to keep you out of her music like Newsom, and her mannerisms aren't obtrusive and distracting like Mitchell--and, rather obviously, she doesn't share the electronica experimentalism bit with Björk, and her vocals tend to be somewhat more restrained. (I guess it would be hard not to be more vocally restrained than Björk. I s'pose it should also be noted she's Icelandic, as is Björk.)

It's possible that in a couple of weeks I'll be finding Emiliana twee and precious, too dreamy; and some of her songs I do already find so--I wish she had a little more edge, a song that was notably undreamy. But there are the occasional vivid lyrics (we gather like ravens on a rusty scythe / just to watch such a little dove) that might push that opinion out a little further into the future. For now, I'm enjoying her.

Emiliana Torrini - Nothing Brings Me Down from Fisherman's Woman

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