February 21, 2010

Luka Bloom
Eleven Songs
BigSky Records

A sapphire like collection of shimmering acoustic songs for the romantically inclined, Luka Bloom’s Eleven Songs
could be construed as being many things to many people. Replete with a more than capable array of fine musicians (including former Waterboys bassist Trevor Hutchinson), said songs are not only augmented by strings and pedal steel guitar, but also clarinet and flute – making for an altogether rich sounding, feelgood album, admirably produced David Odlum and Bloom himself.

Might it be said that the final cut ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You’ is the album’s all round strongest song. Raw, real and regal, it’s a song in whose title one ought to perhaps invest more faith than pathos: ‘’So many lives in shadows/With so much to give away/Brilliant dreams in waiting.’’

Indeed, there are so many (redundant) dreams in waiting, unfortunately far too many to be quintessentially contemplated - let alone allowed.

Perhaps knowing this all too well, Bloom substantiates the catharsis of so many ‘’brilliant dreams in waiting’’ by concluding the second verse with: ‘‘we step up to the well/at the dawn of springtime/When we go our ways/We let the light shine.’’

There’s a deftness of touch at play here, for although the author could well have ignored the potential parting of ‘’ways,’’ he invariably hints at inevitable resolution - especially upon the conclusion of ‘‘we let the light shine.’’

Reminiscent of some of Tom McRae’s latter day work, other stand out tracks include the reflective ‘Everyman’ and the rather lovely ‘See You Soon.’ Both are similar in philosophical poise, whilst musically, the latter truly benefits as a result of Aoife Tunney and Liam O Maonlai’s overtly delicate backing vocals.

And while the aptly titled ‘Sunday’ comes across as something of an ode to well being (‘’Outside I hear your prayer/You are everywhere’’), it is without doubt, the ethereal opener ‘There Is A Time’ which truly substantives the texture, pace and underlying quality of Eleven Songs.

Bristling with an upbeat vulnerability: ‘’Sometimes I step out over the fence/Faraway from the safety of the nest/Out across the open fields/To a world beyond aloneness,’ the song is a veritable pearl in elongated waiting.

David Marx

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