- 17 Jan 05
Fisherman’s Woman opens promisingly with a soft, soothing song called ‘Nothing Brings Me Down’. The unhurried tempo and warm acoustic timbre complements its script, an everyday scene of domestic satisfaction, a night in with the fire on and the feet up...
Fisherman’s Woman opens promisingly with a soft, soothing song called ‘Nothing Brings Me Down’. The unhurried tempo and warm acoustic timbre complements its script, an everyday scene of domestic satisfaction, a night in with the fire on and the feet up: “Home alone and happy/Nothing brings me down/Full of wine and steady/Nothing brings me down/The night is lush, the air is still/Nothing brings me down /Dum dum dum dum.” So far, so pastoral; perfectly good stuff.
But many years ago Woody Allen spoke for me when he said that, “I don’t respond well to mellow; if I get too mellow I ripen and then rot”. There needs to be more than mellow and the problem with Emiliana Torrini’s second album is that from the opening track on, the tempo and the timbre does not change, nor does the tone of Fisherman’s Woman.
When she does sad, it’s a comfortable melancholy and thus not really sad at all. When she does happy, and this is mostly what she does — ‘Nothing Brings Me Down’, ‘Honeymoon Child’, ‘Sunnyroad’— it’s similarly watery. If I really must listen to happy people in January, they have to be maniacally so, disturbingly so, like The Polyphonic Spree or Hidden Cameras or Björk. Violent pleasure please.
As we know, Torrini has a languorous, smoky voice but all she does here is whisper; the songs are recorded for intimacy, so that you can hear shrieks of skin on steel as her fingers slide up and down the frets of her guitar, but with not that much going on in the songs this intimacy is often unwanted, and even intrusive. Listening to an entire album of quietly content, stable, mellow music delivered like this feels like spending the trip into town being smiled at by an elderly stranger on the bus. Not an experience you would want to repeat any time soon.