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13th February 2012

Album: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny – Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose

The listener is dragged along on a frantic freak show of a journey.

Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves of Destiny
Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose
5 Stars

For someone with a voice that can be so haunting, Houghton manages to sound warm and comforting throughout the debut album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose. Listening to it is the audio equivalent of curling up by a warm fire and drifting into a dream infused sleep, full of bizarre but pleasant images.

‘The Barely Skinny Bone’ starts with a lone vocal, which is then replaced by mix of bass guitar and acoustic finger picking that mimic raindrops. The track is reminiscent of The Coral’s dream-like but jaunty tones that should not be labelled as straightforward folk – Houghton is apparently rather unimpressed with the lazy overuse of ‘folk’ as a genre. ‘Veins’, for example, is soulful and bluesy throughout the verses but culminates in what I would describe as an Irish jig.

‘Liliputt’, like so many of the tracks, is outrageously catchy in spite of its unconventional structure; the galloping rhythm builds up throughout the chorus only to be interrupted by Houghton’s piercing, dreamlike vocals before returning to the jaunty beat. The listener is dragged along on a frantic freak show of a journey, barely capable of keeping pace with Houghton’s colourful imagination.

She has perfected the balance of elation and despair that all the best songwriters are masters at; the album is uplifting and optimistic, yet simultaneously holds a strange sense of sadness. It is this ability that makes Beth Jeans Houghton deserving of the buzz that surrounded her in the build up to 2012.

Download: ‘Franklin Benedict’

Beth Jeans Houghton… – Liliputt

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