Filigree-wearing femmes, gun-toters and life stories in three minutes are staples of country music that FFS adores, and Alela Diane’s third studio album has served to deepen our adoration. As if we needed any help.
Her rich, clear vocals are like blue glass, curving through this expertly-composed 10-track album with more grace and poise than a tutu-wearing swan having an early-morning swim.
You’d be forgiven for assuming that ‘Of Many Colours’ is about a certain biblical technicolour dreamboat, but Diane’s oh-so-subtle reworking reads the moods of her lover as rich, velvety colours. The subject of her musings moves from indigo, through ebony to emerald (“come the morning”). This odyssey in various hues is gently arresting, and strangely addictive.
In fact, all the songs on Wild Divine are songs of stages: their complex structures never revert to a simplistic verse/chorus/verse progression, and many riff on past classics (the spelling lesson of ‘Desire’ brings the Tammy Wynette classic ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ powerfully to mind, for example).
Break-up song ‘Long Way Down’ is light and fatalistic, asking “when is it too soon to walk, when to run dry of talk?” with a nonchalance that makes the end of an affair seem not all that bad. Ending with the galvanizing line “it’s been done before – you can work it through”, it made FFS feel a bit of a wimp for all the bawling we’ve done over shattered hearts in the past.
We’re not head-over-heels with Alela Diane & Wild Divine, but she’d doubtless advise us not to be anyway. It’d probably end in tears.