Happy New Year, Miss Mango
Working as a photographer taking pictures of screaming, whiny little kids sat on Santa's knee, or rather in this day and age, sat at a distance in case he's a paedo, is a hellish occupation at the best of times, the only saving grace this weekend came in the form of this wonderfully gorgeous little album from Jo Mango that was sneaked onto the player at every opportunity.
Starting with the magnificent 'My Lung' you are lowered into a soft caressing lull of musical tranquillity. Its odd metallic shimmering met with that lovely voice in which you find maternal comfort, strong female beauty and an answer to all the problems that previously inhabited your mind, is a mixture so sweet and solid you're immediately hooked, even if it is by one of the most subtle and saying songs this side of Ella Fitzgerald.
'Tea Lights' sets up the pro forma for most of the rest of the album, the acoustic guitar coming into play much more from now on, complimenting the array of strange instruments featured, from the toy piano to the kalimba and from the flute to the squeezebox. This Scottish heroine has got the balance just right with this record 'Paperclips and Sand,' and you become addicted to its impassioned magnitude and find yourself listening from start to finis time after time. Trust me, it really is that good.
As the snow falls outside and the fire warms you reflecting its golden glow in your lover's eyes and cheeks as they pass you a Christmas present and a robin rockets past outdoors, this provides the perfect soundtrack, it's warmth and contentment and all the feelings connected made into pure music. 'How I'd Be' has elements of Katie Melua about it mixed with Travis at their most subtle and kindly, 'Last Laugh Of The Laughter' it resembles, and it's a brilliant brilliant song full of subdued emotion and energy.
If Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame ate a tonne of valium it might have this result, that ripe and feverish simmering is there, just released in a much quieter fashion, albeit just as passionate. 'Take Me Back' has a flute melody running over the top which is mellow and traditional and takes your wandering mind away to higher plains of relaxation and soulful solitude... 'Hard Day' is a bit more boppy and is alike to Bright Eyes in some ways, the spinning drumbeat comes in and all is held down by that lovely sumptuous vocal over the top, alike to Leigh Nash's (Sixpence None The Richer) touching tones. 'Harlow 1959' too is a great song, a bit more fiery and a bit more spread out, nearing Bjork-esque vocal mastery, and a perfect way to sail off...
Yes indeed, Miss Mango's marvellous masterpiece of beauty and charm and eloquent melancholic vocalising is well worth buying and worshipping until the end of your time, trust me as a trusted music journo to a reader I think of as a friend in need of musical guidance, Jo Mango is where it's at 2006, what a way to start the new year...