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Oscar Louise, whose legal name is Rachel Hamel, makes her debut with “Empty House“. She is a professional choir singer with the Lausanne Opera and has worked for several jazz projects. Now she ventures into pop music for the first time and does so rather well.
The music shows many classical elements with strings and piano but also has jazzy bits and sets itself nicely apart from the same old, same old pop music one hears on the radio. The music alone makes the album worth listening to. The melodies are good for just drifting with them. The singing is soulful, often filled with melancholia and always just right to bring the lyrics across. Those lyrics, written by Hemlock Smith, tell stories of loss, longing and much more.
Overall, listening brought many associations with other music. The opener “Forever and a Week“ as well as “Oklahoma Betty“ reminded me of Nick Cave´s “Murder Ballads“, “A Tale of the Sea”, a duet with Hemlock, feels like a Leonhard Cohen song. Sometimes I also remotely thought of Norah Jones. Overall, Oscar Louise manages to weave all these elements into something of her own, the beautiful compositions helping with this task. A beautiful album for rainy afternoons and beyond.
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