Decisions, decisions, decisions. So much music, so little time to write about it. It’s a good job that music is available digitally because I’m so busy lately that I wouldn’t have time to buy any. I’d still be listening to something from the 90’s on repeat. Actually, I can think of a funny story where a friend of mine thought she was old because she was re-listening to some Supergrass…

Anyway… back into the present. Well, near present. The album that I’d like to write about it called “Various Small Fires” by Paris Wells. She’s a singer/songwriter from Melbourne. The reason for the ‘near present’ comment is because she released the album in 2010, but I’ve only just discovered it and, indeed, her.

Various Small Fires by Paris Wells
Various Small Fires by Paris Wells

So what can I tell you about the album. Well, I’m in two minds about it. One thing for certain is Paris is a fabulous singer. The title track is a corker. Paris’s strong vocals are the main feature and they’re a joy. But on the flip side, the album just doesn’t have the level of production that I think it should. There’s lots of experimentation going on and although it’s fun, I think it detracts from the album.

To explain this better the album, as you might expect from the title, is like a series of short stories. They are occasionally punctuated with a short poem read out by a man, with one of her song played in a country and western style in the background. This all works fine. But then we get a track like “Let it out Jacob”, which is just a cappella that has been recorded on a tape player and is ruined by them all breaking into a fit of laughter halfway through. I actually like this song but it seems to be on the wrong album. There’s a similar loss of focus on the following track “Jenny”. It’s an album with a theme but without a focus on style.

All that said, I do like Various Small Fires and have found myself listening to this a lot. The stories may be a bit gruesome but they’re interesting and I like Paris’s voice.

So I’m going to give this one 2 G’s (out of 4). It’s definitely worth a gamble. Some of you will like it more than others, and I’ll put Ms Wells on my ‘watch’ list and I look forward to seeing what she does next.


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