Lisa Knapp: Wild & Undaunted

Lisa Knapp: Wild & Undaunted

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Stunning Debut From one of Britain s coolest new folk performers 

1. Blacksmith [Youth Remix]

2. There U R

3. Beggar Beggar

4. Wild And Undaunted

5. Little Bird

6. Lavender

7. Bitter Withy

8. Ride Along

9. Dew Is On The Grass

10. Six Dukes

11. Salisbury Plain

Review from Adrian Denning

Performing the old standards is a link of course to the dusty old folk crowd, yet Lisa does something different with everything here. The overall effect of the spaces in the sound is to lend a natural air to the entire set of proceedings. There's a freshness to the sound and a strikingly modern way she sets these tunes down. 8 trad arr tunes join three of her own compositions, yet they all join each other. Her own compositions don't sound out of place and the trad arr tunes fail completely and joyously to sound old in any way whatsoever, despite the largely traditional instrumentation used throughout. In summary, her voice is stunning and the sound is both respectful of folk traditions and progressively forwards looking and fresh. Quite some acheivement. There are touches of Nico, touches of Toumani Diabate, touches of early Sandy Denny. All these are golden touches. Youth ( the top producer/remixer ) touches 'Blacksmith', which could have ended in disaster, as Youth isn't exactly known for his work with folk singers. Yet, it's impossible to tell what's he's actually done to the tune. I'm familiar with the song from the Steeleye Span version, but I must say I do prefer this Lisa Knapp version. It's dramatic and repeat playable.

'Blacksmith' becomes even more dramatic flowing into the Lisa Knapp penned 'There U R', a wonderfully exciting song where a single violin plays an insistent melody that Lisa sings across. Her voice swoops and weaves and goes from soft to wordless joy. You can hear touches of the Irish in her influences. The song rises and climbs as percussion is added in. It's hard to actually describe the hypnotic effect the song has or the way she sings over herself. To complete a triumphant opening to the album then, 'Beggar Beggar' is impossibly beautiful, really highlighting her voice over appropriately minimal guitar. The title track is joyous, 'Little Bird' reminds me of Toumani Diabate although I couldn't exactly explain to you why. Simple lyrics, simple playing on a single instrument, later joined by a single other instrument. Her voice, always her voice and simplicity is an underrated thing in music these days. Simplicity is the hallmark of many a timeless song throughout the ages. Lisa Knapp is already timeless. 'Lavender' reminds me of Nico, although it's fair to say, Lisa Knapp is a hell of a better singer than Nico ever was. 'Dew Is On The Grass' borders on Eliza Carthy territory and is perhaps the most traditional sounding piece here. Even here though, Lisa makes it come alive with energy and enthusiasm. Strings decorate 'Six Dukes', beautifully so. The closer 'Sailsbury Plain' is a lovely vocal excersize and 'Wild And Undaunted' is a brilliant debut LP. The lines rush into one another, blood pressure rises and you wind back at the beginning again, listening to drama of 'Blackbird' and all of the rest.

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