Lisa Hannigan, Sea Sew (ATO Records, 2009)

Lisa Hannigan is a young singer from Ireland. She spent most of her musical career to date as part of Irish rocker Damien Rice's band, but her partnership with Rice ended in 2007. Hannigan subsequently began her solo career, and her debut album Sea Sew was released last fall in Ireland and earlier this year here in America.

Hannigan's sound is pretty mellow, but otherwise not easy to define. While she sings and plays acoustic guitar, she is influenced at least as much by jazz, pop, and classical music as folk. Band member Lucy Wilkins is definitely more of a violinist than a fiddler, for example. (She plays very nicely, so I don't mean the distinction in a negative sense.) The album's one cover (Hannigan wrote the other songs herself) is a classic folk song, though -- Bert Jansch's "Courting Blues." Hannigan sings mostly in a subdued manner, although when she does raise her voice she reminds me a bit of the Austrian/Irish singer Pina, who's one of my favorite contemporary artists.

On the whole, though, Sea Sew was just too subdued for me. Lisa Hannigan does have talent, and the ten songs here are all well sung and played, but nothing reached out and grabbed me or demanded my attention.

Overall grade: C+

reviewed by Scott

"Lille," Sea Sew's closing track and first single. I do have to give Hannigan props for a very clever video.

No comments: