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AAA Music | 19 August 2022

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Lisa O Piu – Behind The Bend

| On 18, Jun 2010

Lisa O Piu is part of what appears to be an uprising of female folk-inspired artists. However, she follows not the favoured combination of folk with pop, but an out-and-out pagan folk style that is very much her own. The kind with harps and guitars, and ethereal vocal harmonies to send chills down the spine.

Where Lisa O Piu excels most is her creation of an entirely different world where the past few centuries did not happen, but although it is very much a niche interest, this music doesn’t play up to all clichés. Although there is a defined sound, it is a multi-faceted one that stands up to repeated listens and each time seems to take on a new aspect. As soon as ‘Was It The Moon’ begins to get a little too twee in its butterfly-touch gentleness, a twanging key change and additional instrumentation adds an ominous cloud over the proceedings, and Lisa’s singing seems to develop an almost malevolent edge to it. And then it switches back to an acoustic guitar sound that you could dance around the maypole to. ‘Dreams Of Ghosts’ similarly possesses this ominous yet beguiling and fragile tone.

‘Simplicity’ is a bewitchingly melancholic track, relying upon (of course) simple yet cleverly executed arpeggio-based phrases on guitar, and a heavy-hearted poetic delivery from Lisa, whose voice is a thing of wonderful expression, and the production is so crisp throughout, it sounds as if she is whispering these songs into your ear, creating a combination of ethereality and sensuality.

The latter half of the record is largely instrumental, and perhaps it would have been better to put ‘World Falling Down’ a little earlier in the tracklisting in order to ensure the attention of some listeners. ‘Going For Hours’ is a fittingly mystic, if overlong and slightly throwaway method of fading out and giving the listener time to readjust to the real world.

It has to be said, do not approach this album with the intent of dipping in and out. You either listen to the entire thing or you don’t. Given the brevity of this record, it is far from an arduous task, however it does make it a little demanding if you just want a short burst of sound.

The mysticism and stand-out strangeness of this music may not sit easily with those who aren’t too acquainted with similar artists, but if you have a growing interest in the recent folk-pop boom and would like to stray off the beaten track, or perhaps are into stuff like The Cocteau Twins, give this a go and it’ll enchant you. And if you have a pet hippie knocking about somewhere, sit them down in front of this; they’ll most likely love you forever.

Author: Katie H-Halinski