Ane Brun – Songs 2003-2013 (Balloon Ranger)
10 June 2013
If, like me, the first Ane Brun album you heard was 2011’s superb It All Starts With One, then a best of collection of ten years worth of material may come as a bit of a surprise. Hailing from Norway, Ane has, over that period released eight albums, three of those reaching pole position in her country of birth. In the UK she’s a relative unknown and that is a huge travesty. Her voice can best be described as a sometimes macabre Dolly Parton and when you hear it you’ll know exactly what I mean. It has that country twang to it but with an added, very unique, dark slant. The songs range from epic in production to the simplest of simple, but, the common denominator is ‘that’ voice. The tones often quiver in fragility and shiver down your spine.
Her career thus far is represented here by a double cd and it’s good stuff. Humming One Of Your Songs from 2003 is a simple affair, but, her tones bring the track to life. With more than a passing resemblance of Fiona Apple, she strolls through the song with effortless beauty. Again, on Song No 6, a song that could otherwise be lost is brought to life, almost like a passage or short description set to music.
There are several cover versions here too – True Colors (Cyndi Lauper), Big In Japan (Alphaville) and Feeling Good (Take your pick) which are all given new meaning and new life. The first two of these take otherwise dull songs and turn them into mini masterpieces, the later turns the 1964 soundtrack song by Cy Grant into something so far removed from versions by Nina Simone and Muse that it has to be heard to be believed.
Gillian is marvellous and heartbreaking and one of those songs that you just want to put on repeat. Subject matter, American singer-songwriter, Gillian Welch must wish she’d written it herself.
As a down-side, It All Starts With One is unnecessarily represented by six tracks, which although superb, seems excessive. There’s one notable absence on the release which is Ane’s cover version of Depeche Mode’s Fly On The Windscreen which she performed with Vince Clarke, and, maybe the removal of one of the aforementioned tracks might have been wise to make way for it.
Some of the many highlights are in the form of some of her many duets with the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Jose Gonzalez and Peter Gabriel (where she becomes Kate Bush on Don’t Give Up).
Thirty-two tracks and an incredible insight into one of todays phenomenal voices.
Published on Louder Than War 8/06/13 - here