I am sure that all reviewers of music have their own individual approach to a new album. Mine is to play the newly arrived music in the background whilst I work. I usually do this a few times then sit down and listen in earnest and make notes. Just occasionally, on the first listen, a voice or a piece of music makes me stop and listen immediately and Kelly Oliver's voice has just had such an effect on me.
The song that made me stop and listen was "Jericho" co-written and produced by the multi-talented Nigel Stonier. "Bedlam" is Kelly's second album and was one year in the making with triple producers in the aforementioned Nigel Stonier, Stu Hanna and Lauren Deakin Davies. What each one brings to the table is immediately apparent and contributes greatly to the variety of sounds and music on this superb album.
Stevenage resident, 25 year old Kelly has a quite remarkable crystal clear voice with just a touch of Ireland about it. She has been described as blending traditional values with bold Indie pop sensibility. The album is a superb mix of modern and traditional folk and works incredibly well, due mainly to the quality of the writing and that amazing voice.
"Jericho" whilst sounding like a traditional song with its subtle harmonica introduction is in fact a brand new song. New yet sounding traditional is quite a hard combination to achieve but Kelly and Nigel have succeeded.
Some of the music is extremely stripped back allowing the full beauty of Kelly's voice to shine. A great example of this approach is "Lay our Heavy Heads." "In The City" again uses the harmonica to underpin its individual sound. The album concludes with a very upbeat track "Rio" depicting the party approach of that particular city. The production on all tracks is a joy to listen to and varied enough in style to interest almost any lover of quality music.
In addition to the three producers, a number of guests appear including Thea Gilmore. A sure sign of the esteem in which Kelly is held and last year Kelly toured as support to Thea. Kelly is again on tour in 2016 to launch "Bedlam."
Overall, this is an album bursting with quality, great songs and superb production from a lady with a remarkable voice. It is good to see that it is the "Along The Tracks" Album of the week too. A well-deserved accolade!
I have just one minor complaint. At just 37 minutes long, it is too short for me although it has left me wanting more. Perhaps a clever ploy by Kelly?
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