'Femmes Fatales of Folk' – Various Artists "a showcase of young female talent"(July 11, 2014)
Folkstock steadily toils away through the folk world, breaking boundaries, refusing to pause and importantly, taking the work of lesser-known artists to a widening audience. Their latest release is ‘Femmes Fatales of Folk’ ... a showcase of young female talent ... as envisaged by Folkstock. Finding themselves representing an increasing number of female artists - not intention, simply fact - Folkstock decided to present an album of original music written by female performers. The result is a collective that offers 10 tracks certainly worth hearing.
Much as I dislike track-by-track reviews, there really is no other way to do justice to this album, so bear with me. The album opens with Kelly Oliver’s sparkling voice delivering the harrowing tale ‘The Witch of Walkern’ - this lady you really have to hear, later she delivers a creditable version of Dougie MacLean’s ‘Caledonia’ - always a tough ask. From there, Marina Florance's moody voicetakes hold of your emotions with ‘The Path He Chose’; a tough song about the eternal issue of young men fighting wars, and if it doesn’t get to you, there’s no hope for your soul. Zoe Wren adds a faint Americana touch as she delivers her view of the world with‘45 Fever’, and with her usual enigmatic vocals and alluring accent, Daria Kulesh engages completely with ‘Fake Wonderland’, until Kaity Rae moves in with 'It Is'through sensuous, softly-delivered vocals.
The delicate, otherworldly voice that belongs to Minnie Birch delivers ‘Wise Words’ sometimes ‘talking in tune’ rather than singing to enable her poetic lyrics to make a mark. There’s always room for another distinctive vocal and Roxanne de Bastion hits it to perfection through ‘Here’s Tom With The Weather’, Helen Chinn serves up an entirely different approach with ‘Second Chance’ taking you on an emotional turn around personal longing. The album closes with the strong, searching vocals of Fay Brotherhood as she pours ‘Blue Spiral Screams’ around your ears – another voice for whom an enviable reputation clearly awaits.
The ebb and flow of different voices, diverse messages and distinctive deliveries make this album one to hear. Much power to Folkstock with their mission and to these Femme Fatales of Folk – when comes the concert?
Find FolkStock here: www.folkstockartsfoundation.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll