- 17 Jan 13
Stunning collaboration from Irish chanteuse Nina Hynes and French musician Fabien Leseure
A collaboration between Berlin-based Irish songstress Nina Hynes and French multi-instrumentalist and producer Fabien Leseure, Goldmine is a small album with a big, big heart. It’s also the best thing the unquestionably talented Hynes has created in a decade, when 2002’s Staros was one of this writer’s albums of that year.
Opener ‘The World’ is a glorious introduction to her world. It is as warm and comforting as diving into your favourite pair of woolly socks and will envelope you in its fuzzy embrace and prod you into smiley submission through a combination of infectious melody, a soaring and sweeping string section and bright ‘n’ breezy brass. Indeed, throughout its 10 tracks, Goldmine sounds like it cost far more than the crowd-funded €10k to produce, such is the lushness of its sound, the richness of its orchestration and the sheen to the production. With Hynes at the writing desk, however, this could never be straightforward pop: it sometimes seems the words ‘off’ and ‘kilter’ were invented just for her. And yet it remains difficult to understand quite how her left-of-centre pop leanings haven’t found a bigger international audience in the way of, say, Regina Spektor. Certainly, the spaghetti western-tinged Morricone-isms of ‘Rain’, the breathy, confessional ‘Over The Line’ and the Beach House-like dream pop of ‘Mexico’ and ‘Goldmine’ are worthy of gracing airwaves and filling venues the world over.
It’s not all immediately gratifying: some of the songs take a little more work, but are all the better for it, like the baroque ‘Cuckoo’, the introspective ‘Dancing Suns’, where Nina comes over all metaphysical (“We can’t get away from all the things that make us human / Yes we are weak, so we must seek something more”), and the stunningly melancholic ‘Black Eagle’, where she asserts that, “Men don’t know how to love.”
It’s folk, it’s pop and it’s subtle electronica, all fused together with Leseure’s superb musical glue and Hynes’ undoubted charm and warmth, delivered with a nod, a wink and a sureness of touch that’s beautiful to behold. A welcome return to top form.