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Sunday, 5 June 2011

VK Lynne – Whiskey Or Water (blues rock/ singer-songwriter)

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self released, 2009, CD album, 34m 57s, $9.99

VK Lynne plays to the mythical archetype of the strong but vulnerable, hard drinking rock chick: how much of that is VK Lynne the narrator of this sequence of songs, and how much of it is VK Lynne the writer and woman is above my pay grade to speculate, but there’s a powerful sense of sincerity in this music. God crops up quite a lot, which I’ll return to below, and unless an artist is playing to a specifically religious audience, which Lynne does not seem to be doing, that’s sticking your neck out.

Musically she doesn’t stick her neck out too far, preferring to work within a genre and master its conventions: from reading her bio it seems that producer James Thomas has as much to do with the sound of this album as she does, and he is obviously a consummate professional. Stylistically it is informed but not enclosed by the conventions of blues based hard rock: there is also some country in the mix, and a more inventive approach on a few songs. Everything is precisely right about these arrangements, the performances that realise them, and the way they are recorded and mixed; another team would have made some different choices, but they couldn’t have showcased these songs to better effect. Regular readers who know my taste for black metal, free improvisation, psychedelic prog, experimental electronica and so forth may be surprised to read me praising something that is as generically conventional as this, but generic conventions can be manipulated to expressive effect as much as any other musical material, and they are used here with a huge amount of knowledge, sophistication and imagination.

Read the rest of this review here

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