Chloë March’s musical past covers a stint in the sophisticated melodrama of Cousteau as well as a background in drama and playwriting. Such skills and experiences have been put to excellent use on new album ‘Nights Bright Day’ where the attention to production detail is matched with fascinating storytelling.
Bathed in magical beauty, ‘Winter Deep’ sees March cast as the female equivalent of C Duncan, with whom she shares a cool, breathy vocal and a penchant for dreamy arrangements. March’s primary focus seems to be on piano-led numbers and lambent, ambient pop, with strong echoes of Jo Hamilton on ‘Cafe Des Poetes’, yet a diversions into psychedelic soul (courtesy of ‘Boho Night’) is tackled with skill and panache. The superb ‘Orpheus Head’ bubbles with highly inventive production and oddball melody where the key lyrics, “You’re in my head. You’re in the ground, beneath my feet”, are delivered gently for maximum impact.
A clutch of spare, vocal-led numbers (‘Ember’, ‘Eurydice On The Underground’, ‘Orpheus At Sea’, ‘Eucalyptus Night’) seem like lost anthems from a watery world whilst a spectral ‘Be Lonely Roi’ threatens to lure the listener completely underwater, engulfed by the hypnotic aural bliss. On abstract offerings such as ‘Sunless’, ‘Woods’ and the Anja Garbarek-esque ‘Owl’, meanwhile, it’s as if nature itself has decided to take over and recorded its own beautiful songs.
Variations in pace may be few and far between but this is not a problem because the arrangements always keep the listener guessing from the first song to the shiver-inducing grace of the finale ‘Unlit’. Furthermore, March’s vocals manage to find that difficult balance between elegance, emotion and mystery. A joy.
Jo Hamilton, C Duncan, Victoria Hume, Anja Garbarek, Elaine Lachica