Joy Shannon & the Beauty Marks - The Oracle
Neofolk, Goth A Celtic harp, a 'cello and sublime female vocals. It's a recipe for success in my book, but when it's all done by the same woman? Now, that's talent.

Here's an album of melancholy folk, a perfect match for a rainy afternoon with a glass of wine. The Beauty Marks released their first album back in 2008, The Oracle being their fifth. Joy Shannon herself is a former member of the avant-garde Gothic band The Deathblossoms, but in this project her vocals tend more towards the realms of pagan folk.

Opening with just Joy's voice and harp, 'Morrigan' makes the most of this combination with multiple layers stacked together. This creates a richer, fuller sound that accentuates both the delicate touch of the harp and every nuance of the angelic vocal delivery. The arpeggiated harp sequences are deceptively simple, but the result is a timeless, almost ancient sound.

The strings really come to the forefront in 'The Parting Glass', with a 'cello and violin weaving a delicate counterpoint with the vocals. Her voice is perfectly suited to this style of music, with a very refined use of vibrato. It's two parts folk and one part gothic, slow and ponderous music that's relaxing to listen to.

There's more of the same in 'The Coat' although perhaps by now I would be glad to hear a bit more variety in the harp. The layering and recording is great, but I'd personally like to hear a bit more complexity. It's almost too comfortable.

The remainder of the album ponders along just like what has gone before, with nothing much more to add in my opinion. It's the kind of album that I begin listening to, enjoying for a while before losing a bit of concentration after a few tracks. There's a lot that is being done right on this album, I just can't help but think that it all needs a bit of a shake up, and a bit more variety in the song writing. Because Joy Shannon has an exceptional vocal talent, and it would be a shame if her beautiful voice wasn't enjoyed by a far wider audience.
4
Brutal Resonance

Joy Shannon & the Beauty Marks - The Oracle

7.0
"Good"
Released off label 2013
A Celtic harp, a 'cello and sublime female vocals. It's a recipe for success in my book, but when it's all done by the same woman? Now, that's talent.

Here's an album of melancholy folk, a perfect match for a rainy afternoon with a glass of wine. The Beauty Marks released their first album back in 2008, The Oracle being their fifth. Joy Shannon herself is a former member of the avant-garde Gothic band The Deathblossoms, but in this project her vocals tend more towards the realms of pagan folk.

Opening with just Joy's voice and harp, 'Morrigan' makes the most of this combination with multiple layers stacked together. This creates a richer, fuller sound that accentuates both the delicate touch of the harp and every nuance of the angelic vocal delivery. The arpeggiated harp sequences are deceptively simple, but the result is a timeless, almost ancient sound.

The strings really come to the forefront in 'The Parting Glass', with a 'cello and violin weaving a delicate counterpoint with the vocals. Her voice is perfectly suited to this style of music, with a very refined use of vibrato. It's two parts folk and one part gothic, slow and ponderous music that's relaxing to listen to.

There's more of the same in 'The Coat' although perhaps by now I would be glad to hear a bit more variety in the harp. The layering and recording is great, but I'd personally like to hear a bit more complexity. It's almost too comfortable.

The remainder of the album ponders along just like what has gone before, with nothing much more to add in my opinion. It's the kind of album that I begin listening to, enjoying for a while before losing a bit of concentration after a few tracks. There's a lot that is being done right on this album, I just can't help but think that it all needs a bit of a shake up, and a bit more variety in the song writing. Because Joy Shannon has an exceptional vocal talent, and it would be a shame if her beautiful voice wasn't enjoyed by a far wider audience. Nov 11 2013

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Julian Nichols

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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