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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: The Jellyman's Daughter - Dead Reckoning (Boat Duck Records)
Imagine the plaintive vocals of Gillian Welch and those lush layered harmonies of artists like the The Wailin Jennys or the pop folk of The Weepies married to the aching tension of Damien Rice and you are in the territory of The Jellyman's Daughter. Floating on glorious string arrangements or punched out over Banjo, Guitar and Cello, Dead Reckoning is a wonder of delights all the way through. I Hope and Giving Up are stunning earworm tracks, up tempo stormers you are convinced you’ve heard before. I Hope is a paradox, a dusty Americana duet about Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. Contrary contrast or not the song is an infectious stunner. Emily Kelly's and Graham Coe's playing and vocals are captivating.
Oh Boy is all about beautiful harmonies, at times there is a touch of The Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody balanced with Emily's punchy vocal and a simply beautiful Cello part to add another layer of emotion. Dead Reckoning the song is an emotional duet over a rich wash of strings. The music builds and falls perfectly, with space used perfectly to create atmosphere and beauty. The Worst Of It All has the tension and sparse beauty of Damien Rice at his brooding best on a glass half empty song. The Shoogly Peg is an atmospheric instrumental as Banjo, Cello, Double Bass and Mandolin trade licks to great effect. Cry Cry Darling is a fine cover of the Jimmy C Newman country classic. This track doesn't appear to be on the digital version of the album, so support your local music seller and get a physical copy. You Don't Know Love is another album highlight with simply glorious vocal layers and harmonies. Fans of The Staves will find much to lose themselves in this simply stunning song. White Shadows is another filigree fine arrangement, Emily and Graham's vocals perfect against Bass, Guitar and Mandolin. Starting like the aching best of Gillian Welch, the strings when they come, just pile on the tension. A perfect piece of melancholia to wallow in.
This is a stunning blend of acoustic instruments, sublime vocal harmonies and heartfelt songs, lifted still higher by fine supporting players and the ambience of the recording. Absolute delight from the first to the last moment.