This month's second Uncharted Territory artist is Miriam Cooke with her debut album Freefalling, released in January. To call Miriam a musician feels like doing her such an incredible disservice. Former international fashion model and presenter of programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, Five, Discovery and National Geographic. Combine that with a degree in archeology and a starring role in Nazi horror movie Soldiers Of The Damned and you have a back catalogue of which any polymath would be proud. Freefalling puts to the test whether musicality takes its place alongside the rest of her versatile talents.
Although rooted in traditional folk, Cooke cleverly laces each song on the album with stark fragments of modernity. Opening and title track Freefalling juxtaposes Cooke's at times choral voice against harrowing lyrics and bleak imagery, breeding impact in its contrasts. Picking The Roses takes a more classic folk stance, weaving intricate imagery of loneliness with vocal dips and ominous violin for a track that whirls and waltzes through heartbreak and hidden darkness.
Pack Your Bags and Apple A Day continue the heartbreak motif. The former lays a light foundation of barely-there guitar and allows Cooke's dazzling voice to stand by itself like a glorious minaret. The latter plays out over a gorgeous violin backdrop and culminates in an upsurgence and strength that freshens the album as a cleansing breath. Closing track The Sea tingles with the ebb and flow of its namesake. Tender, delicate and lyrically immersed in such a deep tragedy, it serves as the album's full circle moment as we return to the harsh realities where we began.
What Cooke has created is a thing of intense beauty, a structure as fragile as even the most dainty of flowers yet with an underlying strength that is hard to ignore. Instrumentally diverse, there is more than a hint of prog at times but it is Cooke's immaculate voice that binds and elevates. Serving as a guiding light through a maudlin labyrinth of her creation, Cooke's vocal spirit effervescently basks in the lachrymose and signals loud and clear that Freefalling is only the beginning of plenty more musical delicacies to come.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Lyric Of The Month
“Food banks and bedroom tax//What century are we in?”
Downs history's tools to tell
Tales of modern woe
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