Album: Phantom Limb, Phantom Limb (Naim)
Friday 04 December 2009
Two years after forming at the end of 2004, Phantom Limb's progress was derailed when singer Yolanda Quartey fell ill.
When she regained her voice six months later, the band eased her back in with a series of low-key acoustic rehearsals which completely changed their approach, as they accessed a more intimate, emotionally potent style of country-soul music. Quartey is a phenomenal talent, drawing on gospel, soul and country inflections to produce a range of effects: on "Withering Bones", her flatted blue notes combined with the country-blues backing creates a sound akin to Mick Jagger on Let It Bleed, while elsewhere, the dark strings and vocal elisions of "Spring Flowers" bring to mind Jeff Buckley. She can lay it on thick – both "Playing With Death" and "I'll Never Be The Same Again" are too overwrought – but for most of the time she's confidently between downcast and distraught, sketching emotional turmoil in sharply observed details, like the acknowledgement of maturity in "Good Fortune": "The arch of a shoulder, the touch of a hand/You got older, and learned to be a man". The band, meanwhile, display sensitivity, illuminating the blue shadows cast by organ and piano with subtle glints of acoustic and pedal steel guitar, building up a mantra-like power on "The Hard Way".
Download this: Don't Say A Word; The Hard Way; Withering Bones; Spring Flowers
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'We're starting to see his demise'
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
V&A removes depiction of Prophet Mohamed from website amid 'severe security alert'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd