Alela Diane – About Farewell
Like break-up albums? You’ll love this one. Ten songs all dealing with Alela’s break up with husband-guitarist, Tom Bevitori. It’s so focused, it’s almost a concept album. There’s a chronological element to it. The sense that things are ending. The knowledge that it’s finally over. The looking back misty-eyed. The packing up and moving away. There are no good times times at the beginning. There’s no catharsis at the end. This is just an album about the bad bits. And it’s all the more moving because of that. The observations are so detailed that at times there’s almost a Mrs Dalloway quality to some of the writing: “The four white walls in every damn hotel, A light by the bed, Stains on the floor, And it’s here I will wait out the storm, Killing time on the fringes again, Before the leaving”. But while the lyrics tell the story, they’re only a part of the experience. The songs are fragile, quiet, but they sound great, fully realised. Nothing really comes close a full-on band sound, but the basic palette of guitar and voice is rarely unaccompanied. The backing varies between piano, cello, violins, double-tracked vocals, slight percussion, another guitar, and plenty more. And it varies from one song to the next. There’s no formula. And then there’s the voice. Alela Diane’s vocals are some of the strongest around. Right across the range, there’s a Neko Case power to them. But she’s restrained. Here, there’s absolutely no showing off and she could if she wanted to. Instead, the vocals just emphasise the power of writing, the sadness of the situation, the beauty of the music. If there’s a weakness, then it’s the sense that things are left hanging at the end. There’s no resolution. No excoriating kiss-off. No reconciliation – fat chance. No sense of moving on. But maybe that’s the point. Time is the only healer. And it sounds like there’s still plenty of time to go.