Angels and Cigarettes
- Warner Brothers
She's only 24, yet Eliza Carthy has already spent years on the road, as the fiddle-playing daughter of British folk faves Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson.
All that experience has come to fruition. Following an acclaimed pair of independent releases, Carthy's major label debut carries a confident air. Her sometimes shockingly direct lyrics (check out the opening line of “The Company of Men”) certainly put a new spin on traditional folk flavors, but there's also a feeling of elegance that graces the entire album. You can hear it in the lovely harmonies of “Whispers of Summer,” the string-filled “Fuse,” the sexually-charged mystery saga “Train Song,” and the softly percussive, Sade-styled single “Whole.”
Likely to appeal to fans of Loreena McKennitt and latter-period Sinead O'Connor, Carthy has an expressive, enchanting voice, which blends beautifully with the colorful combination of rhythms and sparkling instrumentation. Though she's been around for far more years than a quick glance would tell, she emerges here as one of the bright new voices on both the contemporary folk and pop scenes.