Wrapped in the warm and mesmeric tones of Irish singer songwriter Ann Scott from within songs which equally transfix with seductive elegance and smouldering beauty upon her latest release, it is very easy to see why the artist has been richly acclaimed in her homeland and beyond. Her new album Venus To The Sky is a magnetic persuasion, one which toys with and evokes the imagination into exploring self-reflective climes as well as those offered from inside the ten track evocation. It is a masterful release which has attention and emotions lit from start to finish, and appetite for the darkly sirenesque charms of Scott dipped in hunger.
From her well-received debut album Poor Horse, Dubliner Scott has been no stranger to acclaim as she forged a position of being one of the Ireland’s most creative and unique emerging artists. Her blend of folk and indie pop imagination has seen her twice nominated in the best female category for the Irish Meteor Awards and the albums We’re Smiling and Flo garnering her an ever increasing and potent critical acclaim and greedily growing fan base. Live she has also earned a striking reputation, the sharing of stages with the likes of Patti Smith, Howe Gelb, and Fairport Convention whilst her collaborative projects and touring duties with a great many has only increased her stature. Fourth album Venus To The Sky finds Scott fronting a full band and stepping in to even greater pastures of shadowed aural dreamlike textures and lyrical adventure. Co-produced with Karl Odlum and with a line-up of Dave Hingerty, Kim Porcelli, Katherine Atkinson, Gemma Hayes, and Katell Keineg helping bring her songs into compelling realisation, the album makes a thrilling persuasion which plays within the realms of riveting to irresistible with every breath it takes.
The song Hoola opens up the release with bewitching guitar crafted ambience and a slowly beckoning melodic invitation. It is instantly a haunting lure to which attention is inevitable and full focus given once the vocals of Scott enter to caress the ears. Her voice is a smooth and mouth-watering melodic flame but one which is emphasised even more in other tracks as having keen adventure to its invention like her music. With repetition a contagious air to a harmonically droning enchantment the track is an enthralling start for the album one which is lifted another level by the following You To Me. A lone guitar strokes the ears first before soon being joined by Scott, her voice finding an organic texture which is as honest as the narrative it portrays. With restrained military rhythmic juggling skirting the vocals and guitar, there is an undefined familiarity about the song which adds to its instant appeal whilst the building spires of rock bred emotive and intensive melodic fire only provides a stronger pleasure to eagerly enjoy.
Both Unite and Stripes offer their individual temptations to continue the grip of the album. The first has an atmospheric embrace and impacting emotional wash which reminds of the A Forest era of The Cure. Aligned to the vocals which play like a mix of Tanya Donelly and Dolores O’Riordan, the song again pushes levels to be backed firmly by its successor, the track a melodic flight with a plumage of melancholic strings and harmonic grace which dances tenderly with the senses whilst coaxing the imagination into a delicious seduction.
The opening bass sway of Joy again reminds of The Cure in many ways, its throaty respect the major vein to a weave of emerging poignant stimulation which again hold senses and thoughts tightly. Like the album it is fair to say it is a bit of a slow burner, more textures and shadows being discovered the more company you allow it with greater awards given in return. It is the same with the sultry simmer of Coming Up and the slow winding kisses of For The First Time, the two songs offering a mesmeric contact which is only a tip of their depths and need time to immerse within, something easy to do such the initial arousing allurement they tease with.
Solemn is another track which took time to fully persuade, its country laced folk bait not immediately convincing for personal tastes but the song evolving from there, whilst still employing that spice, into a wholly enticing encounter with guitars and vocals especially beguiling. There is no need to wait for the glory of next up All About Love to engulf ears and passions. The song is a magnificent slice of enchanted pop, its golden breeze of melodic wonder a breath-stealing sunset of craft and ingenious enterprise which seduces the emotions into an evocative frenzy of pop alchemy. It is easily the best moment on the album in an expanse of only impressive songs and alone shows why Scott is thought of as one of the most exciting emerging artists.
Completed by the celestial dream cast fascination of Stars, the song a final enchantment, Venus To The Sky is a full bodied temptress which leaves only intensive pleasure in its wake. Though the album never explodes into the fire it sometimes suggests is waiting, Ann Scott leaves satisfaction full to the brim with songs which tell the most arresting stories lyrically and musically.
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