‘The Tempest of Old’ from Gabrielle Papillon - powerful and eminently memorable(March 07, 2015)
Certain albums make an instant mark. Then they stay with you. Their messages involve you. Their instrumentation holds you. ‘The Tempest of Old’ from Gabrielle Papillon is one of those. The lyrics reach out with their poetry to make their point that possesses a subtle seduction, nothing in-your-face but powerful and eminently memorable nonetheless. The rush of evocative melodies capture your ear with a littering of iridescent hooks to ensure the songs remain unforgettable.
The album opens with the incredibly dramatic ‘Got You Well’ - a seething fusion of sultry vocals, synth-driven echoes and searing strings – a haunting song and perfect scene-setter for what follows. There are softer melodies and melancholy approaches to songs like the understanding of ‘With Our Trouble’, ‘Come and Gone’ and the aching ‘Preach Love’ with melodies that caress the ear. There’s a lingering fatalism to ‘Symphony of Better Times’ and ‘Ain’t No Bitter’ reflecting on resignation.
‘The Tempest of Old’ mixes personal revelations, mournful reflection, sorrowful realisation and the resilience of refusal and acceptance. Recorded at Echo Lake in Halifax, Nova Scotia with producer Daniel Ledwell, ‘The Tempest of Old’ quite literally features a multitude of outstanding musicians, too many to list and ranging across the gamut of Canadian music.
Reviewer: Tom Franks