Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Urban, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

Music
cover art

Sharron Kraus

The Woody Nightshade

(Strange Attractors; US: 2 Nov 2010; UK: 2 Nov 2010)

Welsh psych-folk casts a spell

Welsh folkie Sharron Kraus betrays some heavy Espers influence on The Woody Nightshade, her latest full-length—or maybe Espers has been showing her influence. Who knows? Kraus played alongside Helen Espvall and Espers’ Meg Baird on Leaves from Off of the Tree, a 2006 collection of traditional songs, and she opens this record with a pair of tunes that could be outtakes from Espers’ excellent II. “Nothing” features atmospheric background accents underneath Kraus’ mournful keening-in-harmony, while “Two Brothers” spins a plaintive, contorted tale of complicated love, accompanied by urgent but understated electric guitar. The electric elements in both songs lend sonic interest but never sound out of place in the songs, all written by Kraus but moored so solidly in tradition that they sound as if they’ve been around for centuries.


The first half of the record proceeds with nary a misstep, and Kraus’ haunted, wistful voice is perfectly suited to the material. It’s unfortunate that a pair of songs slow things down at the midway point. “Story” and “The Woody Nightshade” meander along listlessly, sapping the record’s momentum, though the chugging follow-up “Teacher” helps recover lost energy. The record closes out well, despite the halfway-through hiccup, and anyone with an interest in the Brit-folk tradition would do well to give it a listen.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Tagged as: sharron kraus
Related Articles
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.