Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Every now and again, an album pops up that you just can’t stop listening to, which in turn makes you feel that all is good with the world as the virtual sun comes out and the winter goes away. On Mirador, all this happens before the end of the opening number, “Song to the Open Road”. The most head-scratching thing about Léo Divary, Julia Zech and Shushan Kerovpyan, collectively Fierce Flowers, is that they’re apparently not sisters, though their rich and highly textured harmonies could easily be mistaken for those once delivered by the likes of the McGarrigles or indeed the Roches. The dozen songs included here are performed in both French and English and both are certainly equally appealing.
Instrumentally, these women keep it fairly simple; Léo’s on guitar, Julia’s on the fiddle and banjo and Shushan takes care of all those important double bass lines. In place of the usual sore-finger pyrotechnics associated with Old-Time Bluegrass, Fierce Flowers find arrangements that allow for atmosphere, often enhanced by Julia’s inventive scraping, notably on Léo’s title song “Mirador” and Shushan’s “Thorny Path”. Cutting their teeth on the underground Parisian old time scene, the trio have developed a style that is at once American but also laced with their own French heritage, notably the lilting “Belle Paresse”, which shows the flip side of this trio’s engaging repertoire. “Tell Me Lies” is a showcase for both Julia’s songwriting and her credentials as a fine lead singer; just one of several reasons why I adore this album. The only problem I have with it is that I can’t seem to get it off the player, where it’s been spinning virtually non-stop since a week last Wednesday. Simply gorgeous.
Choice Track: La Corde (NSV 495)