Josephine Foster – No more lamps in the morning
LP | CD | DL
Louder Than War’s Ioan Humphreys reviews Josephine Foster’s latest release ’No more lamps in the morning’.
This new 7 track album from Josephine Foster really is something of an enigma. I have been listening to this collection of songs for the last week or so, and for the life of me I still cannot pigeonhole it in a genre of music that the music buying public would understand or relate to. Or actually a type of music i may admit I like?
Now pigeonholing music, acts, etc is very lazy so I am no way encouraging this. In fact, the reason I took this review on was that after listening to the whole album through, I could not think of anything I had heard similar to it before (or probably won’t again in the near future) It is that weird/interesting! Stick with me.
For this collection of songs, we have Foster on a nylon string guitar; husband Victor Herrero accompanying on Portuguese guitar and Gyða Valtýsdóttir on cello for tracks 4 and 6. Together these musicians create intimate re-readings/imaginings of songs spanning Foster’s songwriting career including selections from recent albums “This Coming Gladness” (2008), “I’m a Dreamer” (2013) and earlier album “Born Heller” (2004).
Further, this very stripped down and experimental album (and at times even lo-fi sounding album) features two poems by Rudyard Kipling and James Joyce as the basis of the lyrics to the songs “Blue Roses” and “My Dove, My Beautiful one” respectively. This just adds to the bewildering, poetic and downright weirdness of this Josephine Foster offering.
But, apart from the fact that I haven’t heard anything like this before, this album really just drags you in and haunts you. In just one sitting I was transfixed (for better or worse), but hey? isn’t it great that some voices/singers/musicians/bands can do this to you and leave you a little bewildered? Well Josephine Foster did this in spades.
Throughout the 7 tracks Foster appears to settle nicely into (what I can only describe and compare) the Joanna Newsom arena of idiosyncratic style and delivery. And at times, you even hear St Vincent peeping through?
Throughout, Fosters voice almost cracks and breaks and (please believe me, I am not doing this for comedy effect) her delivery often borders on the opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. I know this lady was well known for not singing in key, but this is not what I am getting at. It is the delivery and (again) the idiosyncratic style of Fosters deliver that creates such weird and wonderful comparisons, that, to be honest, I really quite like! Nothing I have ever heard before. And probably neither have you. Have a listen.
Live Dates this Spring
25th February: London, Cafe Oto (solo) Tickets
26th February: London, Cafe Oto w/ Victor Herrero Tickets
3rd May: Glasgow, Glad Café – tickets
4th May: Shipley, Merchant’s Quay – Tickets
5th May: Norwich, Arts Centre Tickets
6th May: Sheffield, The Lamplight Club Tickets
7th May: Milton Keynes, MK Gallery Tickets
All words by Ioan Humphreys. More writing by Ioan Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.