‘My Dearest Dear’ from Lumiere(March 13, 2013)
There comes that moment when you hear voices that transcend whatever occupies your mind as they wash away the present and beckon you into the tales they tell. That’s precisely what happens with Lumiere – I’m pleased to say that their new album ‘My Dearest Dear’ ensures that feeling continues. The first impression as always is the purity of the voices - Éilís Kennedy and Pauline Scanlon – individually they are alluring, together they are entrancing. Then as you’re immersed in their instinctive and organic interpretations of songs sung in Gaelic and English, you know that you’re being treated to a dazzling slice of the Irish female tradition.
From the softly hypnotic title track, ‘My Dearest Dear’ through a charismatic rendering of the deeply melancholic ballad ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ to the melodic and sensuous ‘The Silver Tassie’ the overwhelming beauty of this album utterly soothes and seduces. There’s also a stunning version of Dandy Denny’s ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ – Lumiere with guest Sinéad O’Connor, make this already moving observation of questioning time’s capricious sanctuary even more evocative. There are three songs in the Irish language, ‘Bó na Leathairce’ (The One Horned Cow) ‘Cailín Deas Crúite na mBó’ (The Pretty Maid Milking the Cows) and ‘Samhradh’ (Summer) - and should you do not understand the tongue, fear not, just bathe in the sound of exquisite voices. ‘My Dearest Dear’ also includes a breathtaking cover of Suzanne Vega’s ‘The Queen and The Soldier’ with its messages of futility and conflict.
Listening to Lumiere you hear the song and the singers become one. The songs treat you to age-old themes, images of beauty, reminders of the past, hallowed memories, intense struggle and re-imagined history. Here are themes as relevant and meaningful today as they ever were, delivered through captivating vocals and faultless harmonies.
‘My Dearest Dear’ releases 22 March in Ireland and to the rest of the world 25 March 2013. If there’s one album that will endure throughout this year, this is it.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll