The subtitle to Naomi Bedford's second album, "Songs of Murder, Death and Sorrow", leaves little room for doubt or argument. There are no happy endings here, and scant regard for gentler sensibilities, whether Bedford's telling the gruesome tale of "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellendor" or the sadder, sicker account of the Essex millionaire who, facing ruin, killed his family, in "Daddy's Got a Gun". Set to banjo and astringent fiddle, it's animated by Bedford's tremulous voice, a striking instrument with skillful touches of vibrato and melisma capable of transforming Warren Zevon's mythopoeic mercenary ballad "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" into a trad-folk parable. Best of all is "My Love Is Deep", a murder duet with Justin Currie set to a hissing loop and ramshackle piano. Brilliant and original, in equal parts.
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