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Irish chanteuse a cliché-free zone.
Jackie Hayden, 20 Feb 2012
Camille O’Sullivan is a welcome, arguably essential, antidote to the anti-creationist copyists inhabiting such planets as X Factor and The Voice. O’Sullivan doesn’t merely sing other people’s songs, she takes up residence in them, bringing her instinctive touch of musical feng shui to the interior design of a song.
She opens Changeling, her first real studio album, with an enraptured version of Gillian Welch’s ‘Revelator’, applies her warmest tones to Radiohead’s ‘Nude’ while giving it lots of room to breathe, and for ‘Wake Up’ she replaces Arcade Fire’s fuzzed-up original with a calm, almost spiritual depth. But as if to prove her versatility she injects a sinister menace into Bowie’s Aladdin Sane classic ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ and coats Tom Waits’ ‘All The World Is Green’ with a cool Brechtian icing. Snow Patrol fans will be impressed by two Lightbody songs, ‘These Days’, written especially for O’Sullivan, and ‘Dark Roman Wine’ – and there are some worthy versions of Nick Cave songs and a couple of originals by her musical cohorts. On the down side, O’Sullivan’s version of ‘Hurt’ is a less than spell-binding copy of Johnny Cash’s magisterial interpretation.
O’Sullivan eschews the clichés we usually suffer from cabaret chanteuses, and is ably abetted by an array of musicians on a shopful of instruments. There’s a sense of cohesion here that suggests she’s on a roll. Impressive.