One word keeps coming to me when listening to Lisbee, and it applies equally to her new album ‘Go’, the word is ‘timeless’. This comes along with a variety of other positive descriptions; all told, a truly wonderful offering. I find it even more special because I have a physical copy of the CD as opposed to just a digital download. I have to say that I am getting very used to working with digital only tracks; and cloud based services, such as Last FM and Spotify, mean that many people can have direct access to music of their choice without even having to own any tracks at all.
The physical copy of Lisbee’s album served to remind me of the additional joys that come with ownership of a ‘real item’. It has been produced as a two fold / three section package rather than in a jewel case. Also included is a sixteen page lyric booklet – now I am aware that some electronic albums also come with electronic booklets, but the ability to hold it in your hand whilst reading it cannot be replicated electronically.
So what about the music? As I’ve previously said, I find Lisbee’s music to be timeless, I believe that Lisbee has written from the heart without seeking to adhere to any currently fashionable styles and expectations and as such has produced an impressive product that stands apart from other more transient offerings by artists attempting to piggy back onto some current fad. This is a powerful and mature collection of diverse songs.
A couple of weeks before the release of the album I had the great privilege of interviewing Lisbee live on-air during one of my ‘Drive Time’ shows. She has been deeply involved with writing and performing since a very early age; this, combined with her great interest in London history, has enabled her to produce a mature and thought provoking collection of poetic songs. Her family had lived through the blitz in East London and she has been keen to include an exploration of this within the body of her work.
The first track that I heard from this album was ‘The Archives’, an extremely powerful live performance from ‘The Paradiso’ in Amsterdam, accompanied by bass and drums. The album version adds further layers of interest by including multi-layering as Lisbee plays her unique 8 string guitar, nylon string guitar, electric guitar, ukelele, synth and percussion. There is also the added pleasure of hearing Laura Bettinson (aka Dimbleby & Capper) and Mikko Gordon on backing vocals.
Lisbee’s distinctive voice sings out from every track, yet the tracks all have a different feel as she ably demonstrates her versatility. Having watched a number of live performances courtesy of YouTube, it is abundantly clear that Lisbee is capable of entrancing audiences with her confident live performances; this album proves that she is just as capable of maximising her potential in a studio setting.
Usually I allow myself to formulate my thoughts about music in an informal way, somehow arriving at a decision as to whether or not I like something without being too clear as to why. I have recently drafted out a checklist to use for analysing my decision making criteria when listening to new tracks; I thought that it might be useful to apply this to ‘Go’. I must stress that I certainly don’t do this with every new song that I hear, it was more an exercise to ensure that I was capable of being objective, very often listening to music is much more subjective.
So what about this Lisbee Stainton album?
Dynamic composition – very much so
Lyrical content – wonderfully evocative
Instrumental skills – impressive
Vocal range / variety – definitely
Maintaining interest – certainly
Originality – oh yes!
Listen again factor – absolutely
For what it’s worth, this confirms my initial impression that this is a top class album that I am sure will feature in my future listening for a long time to come.
As I believe that Lisbee’s lyrics are a crucial component I’ll finish by quoting the opening lines from each track as a teaser:
‘Go’ – “In the morning, when my eyes open, and the world unfolds up to take me down”
‘Wrench’ – “Fear was staring face in windows, glassy eyes and grinning bones that shook you cold behind the door.”
‘The Archives’ – “You visit through the pictures but don’t open the door, downstairs to the archives, forgotten by the floor.”
‘The Author’ – “Down the Southbank at the lowest tide, he almost told me not to leave his side.”
‘There You Are’ – “Scattered leaves, the pavement somewhere underneath, you cast a line and caught the words beneath my feet.”
‘We Don’t Believe In Monsters’ – “A monster awakens and opens his eyes and sighs to the morning.’
‘Silence Scares Me’ – “Silence scares me. Spotlight in a crowd. And I’m fairly prone to blurt things out.”
‘Unsung’ – “Easy live and quiet die, you say, but your heart has never burned and bled.”
‘Sleepwalker’ – “Softly spoken, streetlight broken. If only the light shined through when the curtain moved.”
‘Find Me Here’ – “Stood upon the bridge over what was once a mighty river, he stands.”
‘Millions Of Flowers’ – “I see fields of green and mountains of yellow, signs that catch the sun and bask in release.”
‘Follow’ – “These shoes are old and worn now, I feel I’ve been walking all my life.”
This album is called ‘Go’ and I would now encourage you all to GO and give it a listen.