Saturday 7 March 2015


CD Review

The F Spot - Femmes Fatales

Folkstock have pulled off quite a coup with the highly respected Peggy Seeger taking part and opening the second of the Femmes Fatales albums from the burgeoning stable of folk fillies.

Peggy Seeger
But then it's not entirely a surprise when you consider she was involved in their Armistice Pals album; the label is allying itself to International Women's Day and of course the tracks are all from femmes.
Seeger is not an easy act to follow, but Roxanne De Bastion pulls it off with her childlike voice on Butterfly which, on occasion, strangely morphs into sounding not dissimilar to Sinead O'Connor. De Bastion does have a distinctive way of performing where, at times, she is almost reciting the lyrics rather than singing them.
She gives way to the much bolder and sharper sound of Zoe Wren with A Moment's Madness. She has a very sixties-style of folk singing which manages to keep that contemporary, fresh and now feel.
Marina Florance is securely rooted in the country side of folk and without doubt has the magic touch when it comes to lyrics. On this occasion they are gentle floated out before they stick in your heart like fishing barbs. The Path He Chose is going to be responsible for a lot of lumps in the throats and a lot of tear-filled eyes.You have to face it Florance is a class act.
If you put Minnie Birch on a rock in a shipping lane the naval population would plummet. Castles is a gorgeous song - sung with her gorgeous, molten chocolate voice.
When it comes to Kaity Rae her singing is a little more sultry, smokier and there are times during It Is she sounds uncannily like Eva Cassidy.
Minnie Birch
Kelly Oliver, deliberately or otherwise, is maturing marvellously and, if not already there, is very close to shedding that new-kid-on-the-block/rising star tag. She has developed her own sound so much so she has now got to that stage where you wouldn't need to see the album to distinguish her voice. On Keilan Are You Coming? you can hear that pitch where she has set her voice and which has a wonderfully rounded sound accented by the distinctive tremble in her singing.
Another great find of the Folkstock fillies is the highly-refined voice of Daria Kulesh, who is the Ferrero Rocher of the album. Fake Wonderland is a track from her solo album Eternal Child and when she sings she has this ominous timbre to her voice, almost as if you could be in serious trouble if you don't listen to what she's singing, and even deeper trouble if you do listen to it. Next to Seeger, Maz O'Connor is probably the most widely known of the artists on the album. Her simple and rhythmic strumming on the guitar gives a strong backing to her gentle voice on The Mississippi Woman.
Fay Brortherhood
Fay Brotherhood closes the album with Blue Spiral Screams. Brotherhood has the sort of voice you associate with singers such as Buffy Saint Marie, she brings that atmosphere of ethnic almost tribal chant. She is able to create a sound similar to the protest songs of the Woodstock era and with this singing, when it happens in broken sections, she does at times remind of the great Sandy Denny.
There isn't a weak track on this album and if there is a better album around to encompass the ideals of IWD then it would be interesting to know what it is.
Judging by this and the last album from the Femmes Fatales stable then you have to face the fact, all the fillies are thoroughbreds.

The F Spot - Femmes Fatales(II) is released on March 8 and available from the Folkstock website.

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