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Boomkat Product Review:
Now here's a lady I haven't come across before, but on the strength of this, her debut album I'm left wondering why not. Coming from the same freaky folk land as Devendra Banhart, Larkin Grimm, Joanna Newsom and most notably Marissa Nadler (who she sounds surprisingly similar to) this is American folk at it's finest and with 'The Pirate's Gospel' we've found another name to add to that list. Alela is no slouch, with eleven songs she manages to show a surprising knowledge of where she comes from (with a great deal of reference to Karen Dalton among others) but the album feels knowingly contemporary. Of course the easiest thing in the world would be to lump this next door to Marissa Nadler, but where Nadlers voice is swamped in reverb and adorned by chiming bells, Alela leaves things dry, innocent and pure. Also notable is Alela's connection with American folk and country music, rather than solely leave her sphere of influence in the hand of the British classics, she gives a sound of American primitive, of back-porches and corn blowing in the wind as the sun sets. This kind of down-home feeling permeates the album and gives it a quality separating her far from her freakier scene-leading brethren; maybe this will work against her, as there's very little truly experimental about 'The Pirate's Gospel', but her songwriting and purity gives me everything I want from a folk record. In fact it reminds me of those truly beautiful classic folk albums that keep appearing on the re-issue circuit at the moment, reminiscent of a time when the world was slightly softer around the edges. Simply beautiful stuff and highly recommended.