England - Full Moon 109 - 08/19/05
Blue Satin Alley
Abigail Hopkins' debut Smile Road was an exceptional record. Her follow-up is equally strong. The spooky opener "Butterfly" instantly draws me in. Its bluesy yet ethereal and Hopkins singing has a strange allure. "In From The Sea" has whispered vocals and tells of a girl meeting a weird sailor. The song is lullaby-soft but still reeks of a hidden threat. "Ghost Soldier", an antiwar song sounds like an update of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". Hopkins sings it in a folk-influenced way and the strummed guitar adds to the tension. "Harold's Bees" is a likeable, silly Tom Waits style song. Hopkins vamps it up and describes some offbeat characters nicely.
The title track is magnificent. Hopkins softly sings of going to the alley to escape your woes. Her delivery is sort of like PJ Harvey's and a Spanish guitar backs her tale.
It's a long way from Smile Road to Blue Satin Alley, but it's a journey worth taking.
Copyright © 2005 Anna Maria Stjärnell