Saturday, 13 October 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Hilary Scott - Don't Call Me Angel : Belltown Records (Out on 12th October 2018)

Since being fortunate to obtain an advance digital copy of this album a couple of months ago, the art of falling in love with a record has surfaced. While the sumptuous tones of Hilary Scott’s DON’T CALL ME ANGEL have garnered countless pleasurable plays, the conundrum of how to convert the appreciation into meaningful words refused to reveal a solvable hand. As the eventual release date passed, the time was ripe to at least share a few thoughts and ultimately let folks decide whether they are touched in similar ways.

The issue came prominently from where to locate a coat hanger to house such a record in the mind. Genres such as country, Americana and folk bounced around without offering a best fit. Pop reared its head, but that also seemed inappropriate, although the ease of listening meant very little exertion had a requirement. The vague realm of singer-songwriter had to be the final resting place if such a location needed finding. Labels aside, maybe just words like classy, distinguished, passionate and cultured would suffice to get things underway.

For the record, Hilary has found it convenient to apply the strapline ‘one l’ to announce that she is not the Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum fame. In fact she is much better. Hilary is an American singer-songwriter, the architect of twelve recording projects over a twenty-year period and someone who constantly looks overseas for opportunities to promote her music. If like me, you are joining her bandwagon in 2018, the notion of better to arrive late than not arrive at all is the ideal conclusion.

This latest record is a ten-track effort, comprising of nine self-penned compositions and a cover version of Prince’s ‘Kiss’. The latter emerges as a soft bluesy effort that slightly sits adrift from the crux of Hilary’s prime skill of writing fine songs.

Of the nine other tracks, where the killer ballad reigns supreme, there is no finer starting point than the title track ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’. Although, this opening track sets a standard that many others effortlessly match. Throughout, the vocals sink deep into the depths of each song and absolute ownership powers from a passionate and soulful singing style. Soulful with a lower case‘s’ mind you as this is far more heartland fare than R n B focused. The soundtrack accompanying each song acutely executes whether soft rock guitar or shimmering keys take the lead.

Even after many listens, anointing a favourite track is still a bridge too far, so many are damn good. When pushed into a corner, ‘Not Used To Being Used To, ‘You Will Be Mine’, ‘Unlove Story’ and ‘Moon and Back’ would make a short list, but ask me tomorrow and any of the nine originals could be included.

Anyhow, the true merit of this record is the entity of letting its entirety wash over you in a single listening experience. Long live the album as this review finally sees the light of day on the explicitly inaugurated ‘National Album Day’.

Now that release day as arrived, will DON’T CALL ME ANGEL by Hilary Scott make room for the next up on the review process line. No chance, this album has earned the right to be accessible for a while to come. There you are, some words to support a record that appeals. Remember – ‘one l’.

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