Jane Allison – Methylene Blue

As 2017 went through its final handful of rewarding weeks, it is fair to say it produced some of its biggest musical treats, one of which was the new album from singer songwriter Jane Allison. The follow-up to her hypnotic debut album Just Another Girl three years earlier, Methylene Blue is a tantalisingly magnetic affair in its own right deserving of all the praise carrying attention it can muster.

The former vocalist of indie outfit KarmaDeva, Jane Allison Stanness to give her full name is one of those talents and voices which almost haunt the imagination. Her songwriting is an embrace of observation and intimacy, her fusion of folk and Americana a warm melancholic hug on the senses which carries you away in thought and creative seduction. Proof came with Just Another Girl and its bewitchment of emotive shadows and personal angst, attributes all the richer within the breath-taking thought courting adventure of Methylene Blue which confirms Jane Allison as one of Britain’s finest modern day troubadours, or should that be trobairitz.

Unveiling tales of “dereliction, salvation, obsession and allure, with its title track inspired in parts by the breath-taking love letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West”, all providing an “homage to triumph, defiance, the heroine, the daughter, and the muse”, Methylene Blue was recorded in fits and starts during Kula Shaker’s 2016 20th anniversary and K2.0 world tour. Blessed with the backing vocals of Audrey Evans from Mediæval Bæbes, the album arose at a time of great personal loss and during the devastating attack on Brussels. There is sadness at its heart but equally defiance and hope thick warmth which brews a melancholy so easy to immerse within.

The album opens up with Ain’t Wreckin’ Me, a country fuelled canter with the rich familiar twang the style often brews; its lure wrapping Allison’s enticing tones soon backed by equally beguiling harmonies. Rising from the ashes of a lost relationship, the track is a bouncy self-affirming affair getting the album off to a very potent start.

The outstanding Another Prayer follows, its mellow sighs riding a captivating swing as Allison again lures total attention with her bewitching voice and keys bred melodies. The darker pulse of bass is as compelling; its lurking presence engaging as the song with a certain Kirsty MacColl hue to it sublimely seduces ears and appetite before Hollow Rock slips in on a vibrant shuffle, growing second by second into a similarly absorbing proposal. Harmonica and guitar weave their own Americana spawned temptation but there is no denying that it is Allison’s voice and craft which takes the tightest grip.

Oh Girl is next, caressing ears with its gentle but determinedly infectious and lively serenade while its successor, For What It’s Worth shares a heart spilling ballad. From its initial breath, the first of the two is working away building towards a galvanic crescendo, Allison the fascination at its core while in contrast the second strolls along with reflection and brewing affirmation for company. Both songs simply charm in their individual ways as too the album’s title track, another skilfully catchy and soulful croon upon the ears hard to get too much of.

That is something which applies to all tracks within Methylene Blue, as the charismatic saunter of Forgotten Son and the brooding drama of Outlaw Valentine prove. The pair seizes ears and imagination with unstoppable ease, the first arresting ears with its expression and emotion, the body with its bounce while its companion takes the listener into a spellbinding landscape of long shadows and dark romance with a delicious carnival-esque hued undercurrent. The track, the best or not on the album, is undoubtedly the most enthralling.

The smiling invitation of Texas Baby blends the country joy of its named state with Nashvillian flavours before Unknown Soldier bring things to an alluring and haunting close. It is a fascinating and highly enjoyable end to an album which commands regular attention. It is fair to say that the genres at the heart of Allison’s music do not generally induce our passions but in her hands they combine to truly pleasure our ears and enrich our days.

An accomplished actress in her own right and soon to be seen in the film Slaughter House Rulez, a Simon Pegg / Nick Frost comedy horror movie directed by Crispian Mills and surely basking in plaudits for Methylene Blue, Jane Allison could find 2018 a very big year.

Methylene Blue is available now @ https://janeallison.bandcamp.com/

https://janeallison.net/     https://www.facebook.com/janeallisonmusic/    https://twitter.com/JAStanness

Pete RingMaster 10/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Jane Allison – Just Another Girl

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The album may describe its creator as Just Another Girl but its contents give compelling proof that KarmaDeva’s Jane Allison Stanness is anything but as an artist and songwriter. Under simply Jane Allison, she has cast a blend of intimate acoustic and folk elegance with potent Americana flavouring into a collection of songs which seduce whilst embracing emotive shadows and personal angst. Equally there is an infectiousness to the tracks which adds an inescapable weave of colourful persuasion lyrically and musically, it all suggesting as mentioned that Allison is anything but just another singer songwriter.

The songs for her debut solo album Just Another Girl were written whilst Welsh born Allison was in Berlin, having moved there to finish the second KarmaDeva album. Taking inspirations from childhood heroes such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Joan Baez, the songs were bred from her soul and inspired by the experiences and struggles of previous years. Recorded at The Tea Rooms studio in the heart of the Ardennes and produced by Alonza Bevan, Just Another Girl also sees additional guest guitarists on some tracks in the skilled shape of Country Dave Caven as well as Mark Legassick of Howlin Lord. The now Bristol based Allison, who also has notable acting roles and appearances under her belt, including the Julia Davis penned shows Hunderby and Nighty Night, as well as Human Remains and the Simon Pegg movie A Fantastic Fear Of Everything, takes little time to embrace ears and stroke emotions upon her first album.

The title track starts things off, warm vocals and acoustic guitar instantly smiling at ears alongside evocative melodies. It is a gentle start bringing the folk and country hues which vein the whole album swiftly into view before a subsequent 10351077_671996669557637_1070732306411286045_nbolder Americana suasion adds further texture and substance to the emotive encounter. It is an alluring introduction to artist and release, a soft and catchy coaxing awakening a quick appetite for the proposition which is soon reinforced by the first single from the album, Hymn To Hope. Similarly the track offers an elegant hug to the senses with its melodies and a great skittish rhythmic enticing which courts the thoroughly appealing and impressive vocals of Allison, her additional harmonies just as mesmeric as the track expands its provocative dance. As its predecessor, the folk seeded song complete with a healthy country twang, does not leap from the record but certainly raises further enthralling temptation for ears and imagination to immerse in.

Seizing a tighter grip on thoughts and passions is the following Fading Moon. From its first seconds there is a rhythmic tenacity to the track which even in its simple pace provides potent bait as vocals and melodies emerge and bloom around it. A folk charm soaks every note and syllable with essences of Fleetwood Mac making hints as the song wraps radiantly around ears and emotions. With a contagious swing to its respectful gait only adding to its captivating presence, the track is one of the biggest pinnacles of the album, though it inadvertently places a shadow over the next up Country Lovin’. To be fair the song also strolls along with a infectiousness which is impossible to dismiss and a fascination which actually slips pass our inherent disinterest in country music, whilst with each listen it just grows on increasingly open ears as Ms Allison lays an unexpected hex on the appetite.

Both Catch Me and All Over Now ignite imagination and ears with ease. The first explores western scenery beneath a sultry melodic sky, seducing from its first acidic twang and the open embrace of its Morricone kissed climate. It is a gloriously cinematic narrative with similarly captivating vocals whilst its successor is a slow croon with provocative key sculpted drama, and another track which simply blooms and increases its riveting seduction over time through its sixties enchantment. Each leaves a greedier taste in emotions and appetite before the brilliant Joan Of Arc offers its own impassioned balladry. Allison is scintillating, her voice as melancholic as it is beautiful, whilst the melodic lure of the track combines with her emotional majesty to send tingles down the spine.

From one impressive peak the album brings another straight away with Real Life. Again a sixties adventure cloaks the song, aligned this time to a seventies rock heart with psychedelic whispers. It is a transfixing encounter which shows the inspiration the like of Joan Baez has made on Allison. With guitars bringing electrified invention to the song, it leaves ears wanting more and duly served right away by the just as thrilling Wait For Me. It is a song bred from the same vat of invention and flavouring yet sculpting its own unique proposition within the album. In many ways the second half of the album is its strongest and most adventurous, pushing the creativity and presence of the artist to even greater heights.

Completed by the piano driven ballad Farewell My Boy, with Allison again vocally radiant, the melodically glowing Just Another Girl is a thrilling treat to lose thoughts and senses in with the richest rewards in return. Jane Allison is a bright spark in folk inspired invention with the potential to make a potent mark with her solo endeavours in the future.

Just Another Girl is available now @ http://janeallison.bandcamp.com/album/just-another-girl

http://www.jane-allison.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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