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ALINA SIMONE – Prettier in the Dark

Posted: January 11th, 2005, by Stuart Fowkes

It’s no secret that I have more than a passing interest in the music of Cat Power, but when a press release comes covered in references to Matador’s finest, I get the fear: it’s usually a pretty lame ‘girl with guitar sings sad songs’ comparison that detracts from both artists. Thankfully not so here: while Alina Simone might not be possessed of the kind of voice that tenses every nerve in your body, there’s an impressive, understated elegance at work in these five songs that suggests she’s cut from the same cloth as Chan Marshall. ‘Louisiana Song’ (the highlight here) treads a similar path, obliquely and vulnerable, and unfolding a story just as shyly as it gives up its musical secrets; it wouldn’t sound out of place on Myra Lee. Alina’s at her most impressive when the songs are at their quietest, her backing musicians filling in the spaces with an admirably light hand. Elsewhere, there are shades of Julie Doiron in the poised, smoky tones of ‘Prettier in the Dark’, and maybe a touch of Shannon Wright in the arrangement of ‘Siberia’. In amongst these touchstones and reference points may be the biggest challenge for Alina at the moment – carving a niche in a crowded field of some rare talent. But if songs as gorgeous as the remarkable ‘Louisiana Song’ continue to appear, she could just be onto something.

Alina Simone

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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