Alela Diane: Alela Diane & Wild Divine - review

(Rough Trade)

For her third album, US folk songwriter Alela Diane has given her beefed-up band a delicate new name – Wild Divine – and her traditional sound a glossy pop finish. Joining hubby Tom Bevitori and dad Tom Menig on guitar, bassist Jonas Haskins and drummer Jason Merculief weave the rhythm of the road through Diane's equally restless tales of hope, death and strange women. Musically, her new direction is colourful, with electric guitar brazen against pedal steel and slide, retro keyb oards shimmering next to bluegrass-hued banjo and accordion. But the result is surprisingly lightweight. Rising Greatness is only saved from Sheryl Crowish bland Americana by its defiant spirit, To Begin and Of Many Colours are rescued by Diane's remarkable, authorative voice. With the potentially great Desire snuffed out far too soon, it's only The Wind, with its "death is a hard act to follow" refrain and quirky, waltzy melody that distills Diane's uniqueness, rather than dilutes it.


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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