Just hearing opening track Cover Your Eyes, Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart had me strapped down tight before sending me off on a jaunty and thrilling ride of pure melodious splendour. The ebb and flow of the tides, the tremendous crashing of twenty foot high waves down to the calm ripples upon the shores through a gentle foam breeze of dense ocean spray. The simple yet ethereal element to the melody is stunning. Traces is so aptly named as it takes you through all manner of weathers and sea conditions leaving behind a lingering trace of the sheer richness of her musical poetry.
King of Birds continues the journey, managing to waft you up with the power of a jet stream while the words hold you tightly in place. Then with a change of key in the melody you soar higher before your wings spread wide to glide back down. Swimming through the lightest clouds on a bright summer’s day, the beauty of nature rolls out below. After playing these opening two tracks for the first time I needed to get a flight back home in order to hear the remainder. They blew me that far away! It is rare but always wonderful when an album from someone previously unknown to me achieves such a thing. Traces induces a euphoric listening experience that becomes personal. Through both the lyrics and music, you are pulled deep into the soul of what each song is about.
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