The clarity of Laura Moody’s debut album record is stunning. A lady and her cello – she sings, she plucks, she caresses the strings with heavenly love from her bow, through her arms and body the two are lovers. It’s delicate, fragile, powerful magic that resides here. It possibly shouldn’t work, but it does, and greatly so.
Acrobats, an entire package of songs, seven, in fact, which consists of only the lady’s voice and cello playing is a feat of great engineering. Clearly naturally talented and able with the instrument, almost like a genuine lover, the different sounds can at times scarcely be perceived to be a cello, and yet here it is, an entirely unique and spellbinding release that merits every plaudit and accolade that might be steered her way.
Not only are her songs great but she ends this set with a cover of Nick Drake’s track ‘Cello Song’ (What else?) It feels like something genuinely challenging, pretty and consuming has been created here. It’s not just the originality, or the fact that the songs are so wondrously clear, it’s the fact the songs work, the way she has composed and explored what can be done with only the voice and one instrument, pushing the boundaries of both expectation and convention.
Is this pop music? Certainly not at first glance. Is it classical? No, but there are elements of it. So, would you call it folk? Perhaps, but it covers the three genres and maybe even more. It is a piece of work that calls for a great attention to detail. The standard never dips, the highlights are probably half of the record, or more, and the low moments are almost as fascinating as the highlights. The whispers and almost miaowing and spoken voice of ‘Like Water’ are verging on the insane, like some of Tom Waits’ magical moments, and yet completely different.
It’s difficult to talk about individual moments without listening to the record well into double figures, as surely this listener will. For undoubtedly, it’s a special album, to take with you, to become a part of, just as the composer has with her instrument. It gets under the skin and then lives there, it grows and evolves, like wine, like the best music, and it can only cause excitement to ponder what might occur with the same record as the listener’s experience with it continues, as well as to consider what Laura Moody might well be able to achieve in her clearly bright future.
It’s not all too often when you think a musician could probably go almost anywhere from this point. Put simply, what Moody achieves here is all in the title, truly these are musical ‘acrobatics’ and she is the Queen Acrobat. It’s an essential release from a year some might consider not one of the greatest. Perhaps they need to just dig a little deeper. If you wouldn’t quite consider this to be a masterpiece, then you’d likely deem she has one in her. Laura Moody, this is your time…