Catherine AD - Communion
Catherine AD's measured voice is adorned with no more than roiling piano for large stretches of this seven track mini-album. What other accompaniment remains could be fairly termed as light orchestral flourishes - strings bowed and plucked, the lightest touch of xylophone. This is very much the stripped back and reflective piece, without even the slight sheen of pop production evident on her 2009 Carry Your Heart E.P. That said, it's a thing of charm and beauty with strong and emotive song writing, none more so than on opening track 'Waiting To Breathe'.
Later in the album, despite being a surprise Gaga cover, 'Telephone' shows Catherine's Maria Muldaur-like tendency to slur and slide her S's into Z's, and to use her voice as an instrument in its own right. So much does this record have the air of the sound-track for some 50's romantic epic that it is an almost literal shock to realise that Catherine is singing about such modernities as texting. In other parts the music is so well mannered, so suited to a Victorian drawing room, that it is an interesting counter-point to hear Anglo-Saxon swearing swimming to the top of the mix, sure that she'll "fuck it up again". It's no huge surprise to hear that it was recorded in a single day with a live string section; it has that organic analogue feel. It's too intelligent to be populist, demands attentive listening but marvelously repays the effort. Fuck it up is the one thing she hasn't done. If it's any sort of indication, the record isn't out for a week or so, but is already sold out in its physical manifestation; for the moment it's iTunes or nothing.