10 Apr 2011
Review | Alela Diane
For Alela Diane’s third album, she has teamed up with a live band, the titular Wild Divine, comprising her husband and an assortment of talented musicians. Aside from the amended line-up, this is also the first album since Diane’s signing to Rough Trade, who coincidentally named her first album The Pirate’s Gospel album of the year in 2006.
Written during the time Diane was touring her previous album To Be Still in 2009, Wild Divine‘s material was deemed so good that producer Scott Litt ended his 7 year hiatus from producing to work on the record.
The addition of a live band to Diane’s remarkable voice makes a noticeable difference from previous fare, transforming her acoustic brand of folk into something resembling country, particularly notable on tracks ‘Long Way Down’ and ‘Heartless Highway’. However, as with her two previous albums, Diane’s voice is the one element the listener notices first: completely unique, Diane never has to resort to vocal somersaults to make the listener take notice, rather allowing beautiful melodies and delicate harmonics to speak for themselves.
Tracks which might have seemed slight if performed alone (‘The Wind’), are turned into lush and wistful folk arrangements, Wild Divine‘s knack for supporting rather than overshadowing Diane’s distinctive vocals, being a thing of beauty. By the time the strumming of ‘Rising Greatness’ begins, Diane has traversed familiar territory, but made it entirely her own.
As the song title suggests, Alela Diane’s star is only set to rise. Her new direction in her sound is a risky gamble that has most definitely paid off.
She will be performing headline shows in the UK throughout May.