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Sally Doherty & The Sumacs

Edge of Spring

A Collection of Songs (1995-2005)

(Shayo; US: Nov 2006; UK: Oct 2006)

Sally Doherty’s gift to the world is the lovely clarity of her voice. There’s no sign of strain when she sings, it’s as if all she has to do is open her lips and out pour these perfectly proportioned consonants and vowels. Her biography cites Diamanda Galas as an influence but there’s no sign of anything approaching Galas’ conceptual ambitions or the extremes of her expressive singing on Edge of Spring. Doherty, who hails from Sheffield, maintains her serenity and always sounds a little grave, as if serious thoughts are going through her head. “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair”, she reports as Liz Hanks chunters empathetically via cello. There is a limitation to this delivery; sometimes she can seem to be shaping rather than feeling her words. “La Llorona” surely merits more passion than she gives it here. The appeal of this collection, however, lies in its sweet simplicity, the assurance that buildings might crumble and the sea might dry up, but this voice will keep soaring on and on and on.

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