Professional classical musician turned solo artist Julie Feeney turned heads with her debut 13 Songs, even if it didn’t exactly achieve mass commercial success. The Choice Music Prize winning record has now been followed up with the equally interesting Pages, which is perhaps even slighter more accessible than its predecessor. Opener -Love Is A Tricky Thing’ is a chirpy introduction that bodes well for the album, boasting Feeney’s trademark varied but string-heavy instrumentation and quiet, clear vocals. -Impossibly Beautiful’ is just as endearing, and demonstrates the simple but effective touch of layered vocal harmony that this elegant lady does so well.
The downbeat and gradually building -Grace’ isn’t quite so memorable yet holds its own charm, while -Valentine’s Song’ brings in some wonderfully jazzy elements. A husky-voiced -Myth’ combines strings and whispers to an exciting end product before the tempo slows right down for the clearly chorally-influenced -Stay’. -Life’s Nudge’ is much of the same breathy-voiced and string-loving fare that defines Ms Feeney’s quirky and well-carved niche in the classical pop market.
There is fun to be found in the rattling percussion of -Monster’, before the almost sickeningly head-over-heels-in-love song -Nothing to Declare’. -Knock Knock’ winds down the album with a touch of a cappella harmony and without the interruption of busy instrumentation. Feeney’s well-trained classical background has always stood to her as a musician, but it is as she relaxes and leans towards a more playful sound that we can really begin to enjoy her talent. Regina Spektor has competition.