Album: Jo Hamilton, Gown (Poseidon)

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The Independent Culture

Scottish chamber-folk artist Jo Hamilton spent a peripatetic childhood shuttling around the Middle East, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, during which time she clearly soaked up a range of musical influences.

It's a habit she's never shaken off, with parts of Gown either written or recorded in Jamaica, Cambodia and elsewhere, the results stirred along with her classically trained strings, synths and guitars into miasmic, oceanic mixes that variously recall the likes of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Björk. "Exist" is an arresting opening to the album, with a chopped-up guitar collage and Hamilton's layered veils of Tim Buckley-esque wordless vocals; it's followed by "Pick Me Up", where dulcimer and violin colouration tints an itchy electric guitar riff. Elsewhere, "Paradise" crystallises from overheard mumblings into a seductive samba. The most routine arrangement is "All In Adoration", funk-soul so light it almost floats away; but all the songs are infused with the breathy sultriness of Hamilton's vocals, her seductive strains promoting the attitude of songs like "Pick Me Up" and "There It Is": "Climbing into the future/ Leaving a wake of life/Fresh ideas for the picking/Throw them seeds behind". An absorbing experience.

Download this: Exist (Beyond My Wildest Dreams), Pick Me Up, There It Is, Paradise