Bella Union have released Alessi’s Ark’s new EP ‘Soul Proprietor’. Alessi Laurent-Marke is one of those singer/songwriters who are able to sound great with what sounds like so little effort. Folks were not slow in recognising this as she signed her first record deal the day before her 17th birthday. And just to demonstrate this further she was asked who her dream producer would be for her debut LP, Alessi said Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. Less than 6 months later she was travelling to Nebraska to record Notes From The Treehouse at Mogis’ and Conor Oberst’s studio in Omaha.
Soul Propietor is a big step further up the rung of success. She ouzes confidence on all four tracks that will put many listerners under her spell. She has an edge to her voice that isn’t that dis-similar to Cat Power, hard to believe when you consider her age, but she has a real lived in sultry voice on this EP. Dancing Feet’s shows this off nicely with a heavier sound and some nice Cat Power stylings half-way through, maybe not intentional, but it sounds spot on, as well as some nice male backing from Ben Lovett of Mumford of Sons we believe?
Shovelling takes the more acoustic and gentler route, all be it a very short track, the lyrics are well crafted as the rest and reminiscent of Mazzy Star. What do you mean “who is Mazzy Star?”. The Bird Song Master is a great track. Out of all four it is the most strongly orchestrated with some nice complex undertones of brass, banjo and harp. There’s a real intensity to her voice that caught me by surprise on this track. I don’t know how many of you have seen Alessi’s Ark live, but when you listen to her talk she looks so, forgive me for using this word, sweet. But as soon as she sings she transforms into someone very different, I’m not saying she losses her sweetness, but there is a certain innocence lost as you begin to appreciate how commanding a performer she really is. This clip may help save me on this one, it’s taken from a performance last year when she was supporting Emiliana Torrini, another Frukie favourite:
The Robot, has a stronger Americana influence than the rest of the tracks, it is still a good track but the other three, especially The Bird Song Master will take some beating.
She has been touring and supporting the likes of Sons Of Noel And Adrian, Mariee Sioux, Emilana Torrini and Cerys Matthews. I think this EP is a strong indicator that she is ready to pull more punch on the circuit and start solo touring. Give her a bit of time but I can see her out-selling and headlining in big style over 2010 with the release of an upcoming album maybe?
To mark the release Alessi will be joining Laura Marling on a host of UK dates across April.
As a treat, you can also download the track ‘Shovelling’ here:
The full track-listing for the ‘Soul Proprietor’ EP is:
The Bird Song
Dates with Laura Marling:
Monday 12 April – MANCHESTER, Lowry
Tuesday 13 April – GLASGOW, Fruitmarket
Wednesday 14 April – EDINBURGH, Queens Hall
Friday 16 April – BIRMINGHAM, Alexandra Theatre
Saturday 17 April – CAMBRIDGE, Corn Exchange
Tuesday 20 April – YORK, Opera House
Wednesday 21 April – BRISTOL, Colston Hall
Thursday 22 April – NEWCASTLE, Tyne Theatre
Friday 23 April – SOUTHAMPTON, Guildhall
Sunday 25 April – LONDON, Palladium