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ABIGAIL HOPKINS The Memoirs Of An Outlaw (2008)

Abigail classically trained daughter of Sir Anthony releases her third album of left of centre folk and jazz. Put together with her long time collaborator John Winfield it's an altogether quirky, or one may prefer to call it experimental affair.

There's a mixture of acoustic folk and darker jazz-blues, operatic and choral songs. Quite where Used Car Salesman fits is beyond me. It has a pulsing beat with Abigail's vocals reminding of a half whispered almost Shakespears Sister vocal. The whole number has an experimental, almost punk feel.

In fact, throughout the album ‘experimental' is a phrase that constantly comes to mind. The title track is the sort of number Clannad might have recorded and then messed with the tape speed.

And Abigail's vocals are a curiosity bruised and breathy with flavours of Kate Bush, Dani Klein of Vaya Con Dios, Thea Gilmore and Marcella Detroit, but delivered with the broody menace of, say, PJ Harvey.

It isn't an easy listen, intentionally uncommercial, and with Abigail's theatrical background each song a story set to music. That said it's strangely engrossing. So not your next Kylie, but if you're looking for a home-grown, female equivalent of Nick Cave, and are up for look no further.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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