Taking her first steps into the land of concept to tell a story of escape: it’s one we’ll all recognise
Having spent one week recording her debut release Collectable You, cult singer-songwriter Helene Greenwood has spent two years putting together this sonically challenging and deeply emotional follow-up. Influenced by the likes of Julia Holter, Jenny Hval, and Joanna Newsom, album number two promises a great deal and is a good workout for the imagination.
The palette of this record is considerably different from her last outing, mainly due to Greenwood maturing as an artist. Exquisitely Hopeless is a concept album that tells the story of a woman living in a confined domestic world and her longing to be freer. It is a story that will resonate with many people worldwide. The album’s heroine is inspired by the film Under The Skin, with some of the lyrics coming from the book by Michael Faber. The singer explains: “Like this character we can all feel trapped inside our own skin at times.”
From the jazz stylings of opening track This Is The News Today to the modern synths on Flat Roof House that envelopes and carries the listener forward, effortlessly, into latest single Dream Horses where the minimalist theme continues; this is where the character’s escape from monotony is realised via a musically euphoric break through.
Whatever mood she intends to create, be it creepy and unsettling, or intense happiness and whether Greenwood uses jazz or classical elements to achieve this, the delivery on Exquisitely Hopeless is spot on.
Verdict: The sound of two worlds combined