ALBUM REVIEW: Louise Patricia Crane – Deep Blue

Cutting her professional teeth among serious pedigree as a member of Psych-Rock collective The Eden House Orchestra, the ethereal vocals of Belfast’s Louise Patricia Crane have dripped honey with such luminaries as Monica Richards and Julianne Regan. Debut solo album Deep Blue (Peculiar Doll Records) sees a host of Rock legends lend a hand to create a work of strange, wistful charm, paying due deference to a number of influences in the process.

The Eastern chimes of ‘Deity’ begin proceedings, and for those familiar with the aforementioned Regan’s prior work, it’s a Gothic jangle that could have come from Touched By Jesus (Vertigo Records), All About Eve‘s third album. Crane’s voice dips and soars with melodic abandon while the delicate riffs are underpinned by Simon Rippin‘s steady, irresistible beat. The ensuing ‘Snake Oil’ is graced by the unmistakable flute of Ian Anderson, and while the template of the song follows that of its predecessor there’s an added sinister quality from Scott Reeder‘s booming bass notes. ‘Painted World’ possess an Irish Folk vibe, the initial stages dominated by delicate voices, the great John Devine‘s haunting uillean pipes, and plaintive lead play which leaves one in a state of nostalgic emotion.

No matter what the style of song, it’s this ability to connect with the listener that’s the constant. The atmospheric opening keys of ‘Cascading’ point to a kind of Prog-Pop, the balladic rhythm and moving chords maintaining that feel: there’s a blend of melody and edge, however, that screams of Siouxsie and The Banshees trapped in a dreamworld. The gorgeous title track returns to that All About Eve vibe, enhanced by Stephen Carey‘s stirring piano: while Anderson’s stunning flute returns to beautify the winsome yet striking Folk of ‘Ophelia’, its mid-section fraying the nerves amid a Kate Bush-esque, Avant-Rock workout.

Celebratory bells ring out the opening to ‘Isolde’, but again Crane’s diaphanous tones issue forth more tragedy, then wail in pain above some fantastic, apt rhythm work. Here the progressive nature is at play yet the accessibility of the music remains paramount. Dramatic closing ballad ‘The Eve Of The Hunter’ is enlivened by the bass notes of Danny Thompson and haunted by the backing vocals of Jakko Jakszyk – the King Crimson leader having been subtly present for most of the album – before Carey’s rhythm and lead work tears the track to its coda. Despite the supporting cast however, there’s no doubt whose presence bosses Deep Blue. The architect of the fluctuations in style and feeling, Louise Patricia Crane has stepped forth and created a hugely involving debut.

7 / 10

PAUL QUINN