Lovers Dreamers Fighters
The breathy, smoky voice of Australian country-rock songstress Lo Carmen should set your world alight – or at the very least let you know whether you’re in or not – almost instantly with the opening, title track of this, her seventh album. But if you want the safest way in check out the second track, Sometimes Its Hard – our old chum Bonnie “Prince” Billy guests as her duet partner. The pair of them do the hard-sell in the easiest way, effortless, mellifluous – if this is not for you then the album in full won’t be either. Fair enough. Shake hands. Walk away.
But if you stick around you’ll hear Carmen’s finest effort to day – strong songs (Last Thing I’ll Remember, Parting Gifts) and lilting, lovely arrangements (Rhinestones In The Rain, Put Another Record On).
There’s wonderful playing across the record – David Roe’s warm, empathetic bass, lovely stick and brush work behind the skins from, variously, Paul Griffith, Justin Amaral and Pete Abbott and the haunting steel guitar of Russ Pahl. David ‘Ferg’ Ferguson’s acoustic and electric guitars help, alongside Carmen, to steer the ship and there’s some fine harmony vocals from Mr Billy as well as the trio of Bambi Savage, Emma Swift and Jackie Berkley.
But it’s the songs that make you stay. You Never Learned How To Dance feels like the Divinyl’s Chrissy Amphlett taking on early 70s Neil Young, while I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell is equal parts Lucinda Williams and Loretta Lynn. On Hold Your Lover Close there’s a haunting duet between Carmen’s voice and Matt Combs’ violin. It feels like some 1970s bedsit-classic you never got around to hearing before now.
Lo Carmen’s so well ensconced in America now; her songs – too – sit deep inside of Americana. And Lovers Dreamers Fighters is her finest showcase to date.
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