CD Reviews

Kari Rueslatten - 'Time To Tell' Hot

Added by Franco     June 15, 2014    
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A case of try before you buy.

I listened to this album prior to doing any research so I had no preconceptions about the type of material I was about to hear but for some strange reason what emerged wasn't something I'd considered; Folk.

What makes that even more bizarre is that fact that Norwegian songstress Rueslåtten was a founder member of the Doom Metal band The 3rd And The Immortal, which couldn't be further removed from the sounds you'll find here on this, her fifth solo album. There's been an eight year hiatus since the last ('Other People's Stories') with Rueslåtten being lured back into the scene thanks to fans pestering her when new material would be available.

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Her biography states that she has been compared to Kate Bush and Tori Amos which isn't altogether unreasonable; I'd add a smidgen of Dolly Parton and Sinead O'Connor to that mix. If you are familiar with ex-Mostly Autumn's Heather Findlay's Odin Dragonfly project then that is also a reference point.

There's also a suggestion that the style adopted this time around represents a change to that of her previous solo efforts. The sound is pretty sparse throughout with Rueslåtten's voice being the dominant feature often backed by a single instrument, usually a piano.

Even when a full band is evident their contribution never gets much beyond the sedate, which isn't a criticism. If I have one it's concerned with a personal dislike of a vocalist with a pronounced vibrato; Rueslåtten is just such a singer, in her case it becomes a disconcerting warble which detracted from my enjoyment at times.

The title track is delightful, albeit it's too short at a mere minute; the single voice and piano is wonderful. 'Hide Under Bridges' starts with voice and acoustic guitar, the tempo increases when more instruments join in for the chorus. This is as raucous as the album gets.

'Hold On' features that warble as does the plaintive and dark 'Paint The Rainbow Grey' which would be beautiful but for that vibrato. 'Rainy Days Ahead' has that Parton feel while 'Shoreline' introduces a different feel with a Bluesy bass refrain.
A highlight for me is the superb 'Wintersong' which sounds strangely familiar; it has a wonderful piano motif and it features the strongest melody and chorus on the album. 'Stay Right Here' is other of the more energetic tracks while 'Only You Know' is by far the longest on offer but again the vocals grate on my sensibilities.

A case of try before you buy.

Gary Marshall

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