Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ysabelle Wombwell – Ysabelle Wombwell


WRITTEN FOR SHUlife

Released August 15

Warren Records

After supporting the Magic Numbers and Noah and the Whale, Isabelle Wombwell has been making sure she’s getting close to the mainstream radar this year.

The singer/songwriter from Hull is becoming known for carving out ruthlessly emotional live solo performances, as shown on her superb BBC Introducing session for BBC Humberside. But despite this, her eponymous debut album only partly manages to translate the folk brilliance she has promised into a mixed bag.

Although opening tracks, ‘The Story Of Your Life’ and ‘Goodbye My Cynical Friend’, twinkle in the right places, they scrape the bottom of the pop barrel with predictable melodies that stick rigidly to the formula and head up the creek without a paddle.

Her aching heart and dulcet vocals are at their best when she sheds her band, The Reigning Geese, for song majorities and ‘Falling’ is incandescent in its delivery as Wombwell croons: “Falling, the stairway from her is here. You’re trapped in your sin that seduces you in and now you’re falling down.”

‘Greasy Hands’ has groove but the bluesy acoustic guitar becomes drowned in organs and drums as it loses direction, and this is the point - while this debut album isn’t terrible, it’s terrified to see the outskirts of the boundaries which it has set itself and wallows where it feels comfortable, not allowing Wombwell to be as good as she could be. 

Too often does the intimacy get blown out of the water to be replaced by chirpy drum beats (‘Borrowed Time’/’I’ve Changed’) and too often is Wombwell not left to her own devices, which is where she shines her brightest. 

That said, there’s enough here to suggest that when Ysabelle Wombwell opts out of the middle lane, something quite special could happen.

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