Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Crystal Jacqueline - Rainflower

Pastoral psychedelia, acid folk, bright psych-lite pop and a Status Quo cover! It's all there on the second solo LP from Devon's Crystal Jacqueline.

A glance at the track listing tells you something of this second solo LP from The Honey Pot vocalist Crystal Jacqueline. Multiple references to the seasons, nature, mysterious and unobtainable female spirits, all the hallmarks of an acid-folk album you'd think. A record in the vein of Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day or Shelagh McDonald's Stargazer. And that's true to a point but there's much more to it than that. From the almost industrial sounds of opening track Siren it's obvious things are not so clear cut. Leave your expectations at the door sonic travellers for scattered among the Nick Drake-esque pastoral folk tracks are enough surprises, twists and turns to make this a much more multi-hued and varied affair.

For a start there's the inclusion two cover versions. A stab at Status Quo's In My Chair and a lovely assured take on Pink Floyd's Grantchester Meadows. The former is a tight Chicago R&B shuffle, souped up with effects-laden guitars, whereas Grantchester Meadows blue-sky folk gets an added space-rock edge. Strange Bloom has echoes of San Francisco's golden era, all bluesy and meditative, whereas Daisy Chain is a bright, psych-lite pop tune that in a fairer world would have a stay in the top 20.

As the album title suggests Rainflower thematically revolves around nature, seasons and the weather. For all its sonic diversity these lyrical concerns somehow piece it all together. A celebration of deep-winter and high summer, there's mystery, folklore, the beauty of bloom and the beauty of decay. And for all it's modern production it still resonates with the wyrd, deep-rooted ways of Old England. An album to re-visit and treasure.

Click here for more from on Crystal Jacqueline.
Click here for the Mega Dodo Records website.