Sometimes you feel like a song, or indeed songs, are something of a lament for a truth that can only survive in the past. That might seem an unduly philosophical entrée to a review of an album yet it is the very sentimental outlook that Thea Gilmore brings to her album “Small World Turning” that makes it seem of times gone by.
Perhaps rather reflective and certainly polished, Thea Gilmore exudes emotional depth whilst still appearing to be the voice of everyday thoughts that need to be made into song. She, therefore, often adopts the style of a modern day folk singer but she, refreshingly, does not seem intoxicated by the possibility of potential festival bookings and, instead, revels in the beauty that can be found in the ordinary. Her words are often little more than reflections on our times – “The Fuse” and “Glory” are obvious examples of this – yet there is a sharpness to her lyrics that advertises intelligence and, if you did deeper, even protest. Her strength is, of course, using her heart to give much needed direction to a folk song for today and best demonstrates this in both “Cutteslowe Walls” and the quite beautiful “Karr’s Lament”.
So, Thea Gilmore may well sound like a folk singer of today but she is far more than that. Poetry is not her sword but it is in her pen and her songs could be justly thought of as illustrations of times forgotten that have collided in the fog with the spiritual abyss of today. I suppose that makes her a lighthouse in a sea of sentimentality and, in these anodyne times, her album “Small World Turning” must therefore be a beacon in the darkness. Long may her light shine.
Best song? “The Revisionist” for being more than just a bit angry.
The verdict? Class without the gloss, Thea Gilmore gets better with every album.