Tamara Schlesinger - The Procession

6 Day Riot's imaginative folk-tinged pop has always found a welcome at TMF Towers and beyond, yet translating this critical support into wider commercial success has been more difficult - as vocalist/songwriter Tamara Schlesinger detailed on these very pages last year. Against such a background, a solo album might not be considered the wisest of career moves, but is testimony to Schlesinger's relentless drive and determination in an increasingly hostile musical environment. Recording support from members of Mogwai and Teenage Fanclub helps banish any notions of dilettantism, instead casting her as an artist dead set on expressing herself beyond the 6DR format.

Schlesinger describes the roots of many of the tracks on The Procession as coming from basic a capella sketches, building up the material from these skeletons. As such, the album relies heavily on the strength of these vocal melodies and percussive rhythms rather than the more traditional band arrangements of her day job. Overall, the effect is pleasing, with the layered voices of 'Again' or 'So Long' generating an album-wide cohesion that only occasionally threatens to stumble into the realms of Enyaism. Her folkier side shines through on the jaunty 'My Future' but the best is saved for the penultimate 'No Coming Back', the Morse Code of the plucked guitars telegraphing the internal struggle of an artist wrestling with her own musical destiny: "There I go ... if I dare." A brave step that deserves notice.



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