[15 April 2008]
As sister of purist-needling nu-folkie Jim Moray, you might expect Jackie Oates to ply a feminine equivalent. You’d be wrong; The Violet Hour is a strictly bleep and makeup-free zone, deepening the impression of a ruminant inheritor who’s already drawn comparisons with Shirley Collins, and who isn’t shy of namechecking the likes of T.S. Elliot and Oscar Wilde. Jim nevertheless supplies one of the album’s most evocative songs—“Wishfulness Waltz”—but it’s Jackie who ushers it home, her voice pining with centuries-worn inflection. The track credits mellotron and sampling, but you’d be hard pushed to pick them out. Most of the arrangements wheeze with accordion and whisper to Oates’ trusty viola, while her liner notes are full of references to old records, not to mention great one liners: “A tune written on a flat autumn evening last year, whilst being retrospective.” Retrospective it is then, and deliciously so.