Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Albums of the Year # 68 Alena Diane - Looking Glass


Alena Diane remains one of our most treasurable and special musical artists. I first came across her in 2009, shortly after I moved to Newcastle where I've now been for almost fifteen years. The record I chanced upon was her third album and the one that broke her on signing to Rough Trade, To Be Still.

I saw her round about that time in London at a theatre type venue, sat behind Geoff Travis and it was a spectral evening.

All these years later Diane remains a special artist. In the Folk tradition essentially. Beautifully arranged, Romantic songs, built primarily on Diane's own tumbling acoustic guitar patterns that seem to be set in weather beaten, Autumnal American landscapes. Songs naturally inclined to beauty most of all.

The sleeve of Latest album Looking Glass is graced by a Pre-Raphaelite shot of Diane. Almost Millais' Ophelia. Fitting really. Diane is something of a Pre-Raphaelite in how she frames herself and her music. 

She has plenty of Romantic turbulence of her own to mine as material. A near death experience for the birth of her own daughter in 2017. Marital breakdown, memories of parental split. Windstorms in her Pacific Northwest, the Lockdown experience.

It all adds up to a wonderful, calming and at the risk of repeating myself, quite beautiful record.

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