Shona Foster -‘The Moon & You’ (Republic of Music/Universal)
Looking at my notes for reviewing this album, I see that the first thing I have written down is, simply ‘gorgeous!’
It is. There’s something quite special about this album. Towards the end of last year, I reached the point where the phrase ‘singer-songwriter’ was becoming severely troubling. So all credit to Shona Foster. The Scots-born, Yorkshire-based singer is genuinely unique, and this is an exciting album. It would be impressive by anyone’s standards -but all the more so, considering it is a debut album. And it draws you in, right from album opener ‘No.34.’
There’s a creativity at work here, in conjunction with a gorgeous voice, that manages to remember the importance of the song. Shona Foster understands decent music and thinks outside the (musical) box. The reference points here are not yet more anodyne singers a la Dido, but the likes of PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom and Bjork, and even the mighty Kate Bush. It’s as much cabaret and torch singer as it is pop and rock; in fact, probably more so. There’s a touch of Feist, too (‘Bad Intentions’ is reminiscent of ‘My Moon My Man’ – in a good way.)
It’s haunting, without being histrionic. Passionate and not pathetic. It’s immaterial whether or not you think this record belongs in 2011; because it’s strong enough and deserving enough to exist in any time.
The Moon & You is released on Republic of Music/Universal on February 7.