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Meade, Laura: Remedium

With the IZZ camp having been rather quiet since their 2016 Ampersand Volume 2 release, the arrival of a debut solo album from one of their two singers, Laura Meade, is most welcome. Having released a surprisingly pop based EP a few years back, the singer returns with something much more progressive, although in a decidedly different way from that of her main band. However, while Meade has written the vast majority of the music on Remedium, her IZZ band-mate John Galgano shared arranging duties and played most of the instruments. Finding where Remedium lands is reassuringly difficult, a prog framework loosely draped round something much more art-rock in flavour and yet with Meade’s vocals often central to proceedings, there’s still an accessible edge that reminds in fleeting glances of Alisha’s Attic or Kate Bush. However you certainly wouldn’t confuse the enigmatic shimmer of “Dragons” for either, as a Discipline era King Crimson surge meets a Peter Gabriel like penchant for building the bottom end and sprinkling the light release on top. “Sunflowers At Chernobyl” is a quite stunning opener, xylophone (or marimba) like clunks the basis from which electronic shards spark in the dark atmosphere created. All the while Meade’s perfect diction and stunning pitch add a brutal fragility. This lady’s voice is strong, proud and leading, and yet it’s full of a pensive uncertainty that makes this challenging fare immediately welcoming.

That doesn’t mean that Remedium is willing to let all of its secrets go in one fell swoop; repeat visits required to peel back the layers of what’s on offer, even if the rest of this album is a collection of much shorter sharper forays. “Your Way” is a study of controlled harmony vocals and acoustic guitar, “Home Movies” an unexpected (and slightly grating) ukulele fuelled exercise in minimalism, while the bright splash of “Conquer The World” is a tale of personal uncertainty wrapped up in a breezy melody and engaging instrumentation. The production here and elsewhere is uncluttered, delivering a complex album with the minimum of fuss and yet still with quite a grand fanfare. All the tracks deserve… no, make that demand, your attention and while every piece of music is impressive and eye catching, it’s Meade’s vocals that truly lift an excellent album and make it the triumph it slowly becomes.

Honest lyrics that mirror much of the modern world’s uncertainties, without ever becoming cloying or cliché, combined to beautifully crafted sounds makes Remedium a special album and one I know I’ll be listening to for a long time to come.

Track Listing
1. Sunflowers at Chernobyl
2. Conquer the World
3. What I See From Here
4. Never Remember
5. The Old Chapel at Dusk
6. Dragons
7. Home Movies
8. Your Way
9. Every Step
10. Irradiation

Added: May 31st 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Laura Meade online
Hits: 1521
Language: english

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