Louisa John-Krol – Alabaster

Here we have the fourth album of Australian singer Louisa John-Krol. According to the press sheet, she is inspired by aboriginal culture but also by her celtic origins. She seems to be in touch with the European music scene. Not only is her album released on a French label, she is also supported by members of bands like Ataraxia and Stoa. As we are used to from the Prikosnov√©nie label, “Alabaster” treats us to atmospheric music with romantic and ethereal qualities. Thematically it deals with the union of Persephone and Hades – an embrace between life and death. A second album about this theme will follow.

A good descpription of the music can be found on the nice colourful digipack in which the cd is housed: ‘a bold alchemy of neoclassical, rock, ambience, dreampop, renaissance and dance’. In other words, a varied musical menu enjoyable to listen to on a Sunday morning. The instrumentation is very diverse, and dominantly acoustic in nature: mandolin, flute, harp, piano, lyre, etc. On top of that the voice of Louisa leads the songs, reminding at times of Kate Bush, especially in the first song. ‘The Throng on the Pier’ is very nice, with a few guest musicians from Daenomia Nymphe. A little medieval, a bit eastern, it will be appreciated by lovers of Dead Can Dance or Loreena McKennitt. ‘The Lily and the Rose’ is a nice traditional folk song with lovely classical guitar. Very lovely warm vocals on this song, with lyrics from the 16th century.

‘Waterwood’ continues in this vein, soft and dreamy folky pop, suited as a lullaby. on ‘Stone Lake’ Louisa’s voice makes me think a little of Madonna (think ‘Frozen’). This is also the case on the next song ‘Me and the Machine’, which has a nice rhythm and eastern sounds. Halfway the song suddenly turns into a modern alt rock song, reminding me of Garbage. ‘Light on the Wall’ fuses pop, classical and eastern elements. Not one my favourite songs though. Very delicate and intimate is ‘The Seventh Ingress’, a fragile ballad with assistance by Stoa member Olaf Parusel. The next songs continue this alternation of more uptempo pop/rock and softer ballads. Hamlet’s Ophelia encounters us on the romantic ‘How should your true love know?’.

Truly an album with a rich sound in which there is a lot to discover. “Alabaster” is clearly made with a lot of dedication. Most of the tracks have pleasant dreamy qualities. Louisa John-Krol offers us a great dela of variety here. Personally I especially like her more traditional folky medieval songs over the more pop/rock inclined songs.

artist: John-Krol, Louisa
label: Prikosnovénie
details: [PRIK069]