Alela Diane

Alela Diane

Alela Diane

Alela Diane & Wild Divine

Rough Trade

There’s a haunting quality to Alela Diane’s voice — she reminds me of Martha Davis, whose career with the Motels collapsed when her voice failed. But Ms. Diane sounds strong with a rural-sounding backup of dulcimer, banjo, and low-down bass guitar. Her songs might be classified as folk if she were more fussy, country if she drank more and hung out with abusive men, and blues if she were more depressed. Vocal flourishes pop in and out, but she’s not selling operatic gymnastics here, just a heartfelt basket of introspection and hope for the hopeless. “Long Way Down” tries to conceal a squeeze box behind an electric bass, “Of Many Colors” could be an Irish death lament, and “White Horse” slows down a circus march with the promise of an unwanted death. I’m not soothed or ready to storm the barricades, but I’m awake and alert and ready to follow where Alela Diane leads, as long as there’s a decent roadhouse along the way.

Alela Diane:

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