Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brighter Moody Blues

Lost Innocence

Esther O'Connor | MySpace Music Videos

Sometimes the best things can come along when you're not looking. Or when you're looking for something else entirely.

Last October, I believe it was, I had a lovely time at a Nerina Pallot concert and a short while after I was searching for the MySpace page of one of the support acts, a talented local girl, name of Stef Parker. Mission fairly simple, mission accomplished. But in the process my attention was drawn to a link in a sidebar to one Esther O'Connor.

One click and I'm watching a music video on her page, listening to a gorgeous uplifting song Lost Innocence (watch the video, above). And I mean uplifting like the musical equivalent of the wind under your wings, something to set you soaring out over the ocean waves while, in the video, Esther frolics in the waves lapping gently at the shore like a Scots gypsy revelling in a day at the beach.

It's that kind of spirit that resonates through the songs on her album, Right Here, to which I treated myself as a sort of Christmas present. But hey, it wasn't all selfish: my wife gets to listen to it too and I also hunted down another copy for a friend, who despite being a Scot herself and really into music hadn't heard of Esther. Not nearly enough people have, it seems. Which is just wrong.

Considering I'm a writer, there are plenty of occasions where words fail me and among them is when it comes to reviewing music. Trust me, the songs say it so much better than I ever could. It's why you won't find many music reviews here on this blog, but I'll do my best with my limited powers.

Even if Innocence is Lost in the single, there's a purity to the vocals and an optimism threaded throughout the lyrics and the mood of the songs on the album, all very evocative of Celtic shores and more of that soaring freedom. I'm thinking especially of Out On The Water, but it's true of others. These are songs of hope, new horizons, brighter tomorrows and, of course, love. My wife commented that Esther's voice had a similar quality to Lisa Loeb, whose only song I knew was Stay on the Reality Bites (1994) soundtrack, but she (my wife) has a point, particularly on the title track. But then there are other songs - most notably Saturday Man, Yesterday's Too Late, Chasing Rainbows and definitely the rockier All Right, Right Now - where Esther ranges into huskier Sheryl Crow territory. Which, in my book, is no bad thing. Sheryl often has the knack of producing songs that feel both familiar and like you're hearing them for the first time. As a songwriter, Esther works a similar magic.

Such comparisons are never ideal because even if a singer is reminiscent of someone else you're talking about an original artist with a unique flavour of her own. Suffice to say I now feel like I know what serendipity sounds like.

Perfect for a day like today, when I can look out on blue skies and sun shining down on the local bay. Heck, if it wasn't so cold and windy I might be out there paddling along the shoreline.