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Artist: Helen Turner
Label: Tollbooth Music
Length: 13 tracks/66.44 minutes

The debut release from the new UK-based Tollbooth music (no relation, they just have excellent taste in childrens's fiction) is a folk album full of carefully woven textures and spacious arrangements.

As fans of her former band, The Rumours Are True, will testify, Helen Turner's vocals are extremely versatile and have a rich quality across a broad range. Those vocals are underwritten with organic instrumentation drawn together by multi-instrumentalist producer Paul Davies (Eve and the Garden).

The overall feel is not too distant from the jazzy folk which The Rumours Are True were known for, with Jason Bell's chapman stick and Steve Gale's bass driving much of the material. There's an ethereal quality in places, but more often the arrangements keep closer to the earth than bands normally associated with that term. Another good reference point would be the producer's band Eve And The Garden, but with less rock edge and more folk than classical in the vocals.

There are a few rough moments, like the slightly grating edge to some of the vocals on "stuff it!", and the album has a slightly dreamlike quality in places which allows a few of the tracks to drift into one another which can be a little disorienting. But overall this is a very promising first release from a label which we're likely to hear more from.

James Stewart 06/17/2000
 

 

   
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