Album: Eliza Carthy, Dreams of Breathing Underwater (Topic)

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The Independent Culture

She's on the front in bright blue eye-shadow and lippy, lying down, her hair curling round her jaw like Rita Hayworth's. There's a clue. Not your regular folk album. It does with the elements of the English folk tradition what Tom Waits does with the elements of tradtional American music: screws them back together all wonky, as frames for wonky songs. In 'Dreams', Eliza sings about boys and that. They're odd but good songs, and the arrangements are occasionally thrillingly imaginative. She even has a lash on grunge tenor guitar. One of the albums of the year, you'll find.

Pick of the Album: 'Lavenders': a riverside fantasia with drones