‘Menagerie’ from Kaela Rowan - a warm balm of sound around your troubles(June 13, 2014)
There’s a moment in time we all find peace. That tiny moment before we sleep, when the fall into that replenishing condition is about to claim us, yet we remain sentient enough to recognise the act of failing. It’s a place of supreme tranquillity. The effect of ‘Menagerie’ the latest album from Kaela Rowan, is precisely the same but you’re wide wake and your senses record every moment.
Kaela’s voice has a known timeless quality and on ‘Menagerie’ she takes it to levels that verge on spiritual. Moving onward from the days of Mouth Music and The Bevvy Sisters, Kaela has with her partner James Mackintosh, created something that will touch levels that exist deep within us. From the layered opener ‘In Your Eyes’ you’re already into the ephemeral levels of this album, move through ‘To Never Know’ and into ‘Apocalypse’ and the fleeting touches become more enduring, more permanent in their impact. The album offers eleven songs each with their own special sense and meaning – taken together they are a journey, a voyage, a transition between one state and another.
Songs like ‘Save The Day’ with its hypnotic grasp, advance their own touch of magic with a pulse-catching appeal that wraps their essence around your ears, or listen to ‘Move On Sam’ and tell me it’s not supremely seductive, sorcerous and ultimately somewhere you would wish to go. The mysticism on ‘Menagerie’ is created by Kaela Rowan (vocals, guitars, ukulele, percussion) and James Mackintosh (drums, percussion, guitars, bass, vocals, kalimba, programming) with guests Quee MacArthur (berimbau, pandeiro) Luke Plumb (telecaster) Rick Taylor (trombone) Donald Shaw (piano) Colonel Glegg of Glegg Hall (bugle) Mooncat (vocals) Marty (vocals) and Nick Prescott (mandolin).
This is a dreamtime experience, an exorcism of a kind. Washing away the stress and pressures. Wrapping a warm balm of sound around your troubles. Listening to this album will do you so much good the medical profession should prescribe it.
‘Menagerie’ releases on Shoogle Records on 30th June. Find Kaela Rowan here: www.kaelarowan.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll