Lindsay Clark – Carpe Noctem
A bit surreal, and ethereal, but the lovely-voiced Lindsay Clark decorates her work with soothing melodies with light as a feather performance. Fortunately, unlike many, Ms. Clark has melody, creative lyrics & appealing vocals that are enchanting. But many songs stay in just one gear.
Her newest 11-cut Carpe Noctem (Drops June 24–Audiosport Records) explores the acoustic folk-austere side by not being too complicated or intense. Instead, journey through a more peaceful realm through nature & carefully chosen calm musical notes. Lindsay’s dazzling vocal seldom showboats. Her songs have a primarily unifying coolness through their minimalism.
Originally from a small gold-rush town she now resides in Portland, OR. Influenced by many formidable names such as Joni Mitchell, John Fahey & Nick Drake – Ms. Clark has a way to go yet to create a sophisticated image for herself. She has the voice, music & lyrics but the image is what’s needed. Her angelic voice is a powerfully sophisticated implement.
With “Evening Star,” she possesses a wonderfully rich Joni Mitchell attraction. The acoustic guitar fingerpicks nicely with feminine backing vocals. However, the song stays at one speed – so the focus is on what’s being sung not the groove, tempo, or dynamic. It’s the interweaving notes of the instruments, the angelic vocals. Music like this can get dangerously close to being dark. As in music by Dead Can Dance (Lisa Gerrard) or Jane Siberry.
“Roses in the Sky,” finds Ms. Clark more playful & jubilant. She exudes restrained happiness but journeys through her day in the video with a lonely appearance. What gives a semblance of positivity is her lovely melody & heartwarming vocals. She does shape her songs intimately with warm womanly tones. But again, the songs are at one speed. There is no noticeable inflection though her phrasing is fine & no playing with octaves though she flirts with her lyrics & infuses them with sincerity.
I guess Ms. Clark goes for something more than singing – since her tone is highly emotional throughout the arrangement. Jeremy Harris provided the string/wind arrangements. I’d like to see Ms. Clark let go a little. She may need a reinforcing producer. Her voice at times, on “Better Way,” touches gently into the Judee Sill realm. But none of Lindsay’s songs have the strength of melody as Sill (“The Kiss”). I say that because Lindsay could do it. No doubt.
She needs to explore a more melodic vivid area with lyrics that are delicate but more intense. She needs to get off the green grass & walk on weightier ground. Her voice is her art. But she’s still painting with watercolors when she should be using oils.
Musicians – Alexis Mahler (violin/viola/cello), William Tyler (electric guitars/2nd acoustic guitar), Meike Bruggeman (flute/Aalto flute/clarinet),Andy Rayborn (bass clarinet/clarinet), Sage Fisher (harp) & Alela Diane (add’l vocals/harmony). Photo by Myles Katherine. CD @ http://lindsaybethclark.com/