CARMEN VILLAIN – ‘SLEEPER’

With a CD cover photo being a ‘portrait’ shot of a face masked by a shock of blond hair it came as a bit of a surprise to discover that band principal Carmen Hillestad’s CV includes a prestigious career as a fashion model. I imagine that the lack of clear facial images in the packaging, in part, seeks to divert focus away from her physical appearance towards the music. This is no vanity project which allows a mediocre talent to be carried by a group of skilled musicians – Carmen actually creates most of the music herself, being credited for vocals, guitars, bass, drum machines, piano, organ, synth and a range of percussion on all songs. To help add depth and extra texture she is joined by a range of others, but this is most definitely a project that she has invested much time and effort in.

Warpaint and The Cocteau Twins (Liz Fraser) are two bands that immediately sprung to mind as I listened to this pleasingly atmospheric album. Having listened to it a number of times I remain impressed by the range of songs and certainly think that the world of music has been enhanced by Carmen’s move from the world of high fashion. Although there is little in the way of rapid bpm high energy amongst the tracks, there is much detail contained which helps maintain a level of intrigue during repeat listens. This is more an album to relax and become immersed in rather than something to provide a party backdrop. I listen to a lot of music whilst driving and can definitely imagine this adding interest and atmosphere to one of my overnight drives on the motorway between Scotland and London.

1/ Two Towns

2/ Easy

3/ Lifeissin

4/ Obedience

5/ Made A Shell

6/ How Much

7/ Light, See

8/ Dreamo

9/ It May Well Die

10/ Kingwoman

11/ Slowaway

12/ Demon Lover

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