added: 4 Jun 2012
// release date: 28 May 2012 // label: Decca
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
Though nominally placed in the jazz bracket Melody Gardot transcends the genre, and on this album has gone well beyond that. Certainly for The Absence Ms Gardot travelled around a bit and her travels to Marrakech, Rio and Portugal have rubbed off with songs sung in Portuguese, French and English.
Opening with the Latin soaked charm on Mira it sets the tone for the album, which curiously has a late fifties, early sixties soundtrack ambience throughout. This can probably be laid at the feet of producer and film composer Heitor Pereira. The first single – the laidback and lovely Amalia – follows and doesn’t disrupt the image.
Ms Bardot’s vocals are sublime throughout as are the performances by the rest of the band. Impossible Love has a beautiful sparse arrangement with Ms Bardot teasing every nuance out of the lyric. That song and the feline If I Tell You I Love You are welcome as they jar the album out the languor it threatens to fall into.
And that is basically the problem with this album. As fine as the performances are, it’s just too laidback for it’s own good. With its ultra-sophisticated sheen, it could easily just become part of the background of a cocktail/piano lounge or worse, a suburban dinner party. And that would be a real shame.
Having said that the most challenging piece of music is around fifteen minutes into the final track – the actual song Iemenja, ends after four. Why the powers that be decided to place this abstract, almost discordant oddity here is for them to explain. True, it wouldn’t have fitted too well within the flow of the album but it would have demonstrated some courage.
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