Hidden Seam by Lisa Knapp (Album)
Lisa Knapp unveils new album ‘Hidden Seam’ and reveals a vocal elasticity that brings to mind Iceland’s most famous songwriter
wenty years ago an Icelandic singer known for fronting Iceland’s most famous musical export, The Sugarcubes, released her landmark single Human Behaviour. It was the beginning of a solo career that would see Björk surpass the success of The Sugarcubes and evolve into one of the most respected, eclectic and consistently excellent singer-songwriters of the last two decades.
There’s an immediate similarity with Iceland’s finest when the opening notes of Lisa Knapp’s voice break out on second full-length Hidden Seam, sharing the same elastic and evocative dynamics that make Björk such infectious listening. As Shipping Song reaches the halfway point and the strings creep, in this affinity is cemented. The similarity to the Icelandic pixie’s soaring dynamics continues on the excellent Seagiver and the tender Ruler Of The Rest.
Musically though, there is more going on in Hidden Seam than mere homage to a songwriting legend. Knapp sits in the ground where Björk’s Homogenic meets the more traditional folk of Sandy Denny, with moments of tenderness to be found on Two Ravens and closer Hushabye. Black Horse even has the sort of dynamics purveyed by indie-pop psychedelicists Coco Rosie and Stealing Sheep.
Hidden Seam bravely takes on the challenge of bearing similarity to one of the truly unique songwriters of the last 20 years and succeeds. It does so by not only avoiding the decidedly dodgy ground of the hackneyed pretender, but by displaying the spark and songwriting craft of an artist unique in their own right.
Verdict: Bjork meets traditional folk songcraft