Entertainment Music

Monday 19 March 2018

Haunting Melody slips into monotony

Melody gardot
The Absence(Decca)

John Meagher

John Meagher

It was while recovering from a life-threatening bicycle accident in 2006 that Melody Gardot turned to music as therapy. The Grammy-nominated singer from Philadelphia hasn't looked back -- this is her third album, and an elegant affair it is too.

Gardot's smokey, expressive vocals have carried her around the globe and it was her far-flung tours to promote her previous album that have informed this one. There's a Latin feel here, a touch of Portuguese fado there. Flamenco can be discerned too, as can elements of traditional North African Music. She sings in English, French and Portuguese.

Yet, much of the material remains anchored in the sort of laid-back jazz that made her name and, like her previous work, this betrays many of the hallmarks of a late-night speakeasy.

The restrained production is courtesy of Brazilian film composer Heitor Pereira and he is wise enough to allow her voice to shine. In places, her singing is augmented by a string section; in others a clarinet provides haunting accompaniment.

Yet, for all the sumptuousness of Gardot's delivery, much of the album feels monotonous.

After a startling beginning -- typified by the heart-quickening Mira and the gorgeous Amelia, which is built around loop effects -- the album settles into the sort of complacency that Norah Jones, for all her merits, all too often finds herself in.

Key tracks Mira; Amelia

Day & Night

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment