# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Ann Scott - We're Smiling

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 22 / 1 / 2009

Ann Scott - We're Smiling
Label: Raghouse Records
Format: CD


Complex but ultimately highly rewarding latest album from talented Dublin-based singer-songwriter, Ann Scott

With so many singer / songwriters around just now it’s more and more difficult for the good ones to break through just because there isn’t time for us to hear them all. The lucky ones get a few radio plays and gain an audience that way; others spend years gigging up and down the country building up a following and finally gain some recognition. ‘We’re Smiling’ is either Dubliner Ann Scott’s second or third album depending on what source you believe and the talented Irish lass has obviously passed us by until now which considering just how different she is from the run-of-the mill female singer / songwriters is surprising. ‘We’re Smiling’ has been one of the most difficult albums to write about that I have come across for some time. Each and every time I sit to put my thoughts down about the twelve original songs which make up the album I hear something else in one of the songs that makes the thoughts I had irrelevant. There’s an obvious sound to contemporary Irish music, especially when the singer is female. It’s for the most part beautiful and thought provoking and those Irish voices have an attractive sound of their own which can one minute sooth the heart and the next have you wanting to dance. But Ann Scott, on ‘We’re Smiling’ at least, doesn’t sound obviously Irish, vocally it’s difficult to put a finger on where she comes from and instrumentally…well she uses instruments in a way that very few others do. The first time I heard this album it didn’t register at all. There seemed to be too much going on while nothing actually sunk in. It sounded to be all over the place, not one of the songs had a tune that I could remember once its forty seven minutes were up, those distinct Irish vocals that I expected were nowhere to be heard and the music came across as being disjointed, distractingly so at times. But a lot of people have been saying some very nice things about Ann Scott and her previous work has been nominated in the best female category in the Irish Meteor Awards for both 2005 and 2007. Her debut album, ‘Poor Horse’ was even voted into the Hotpress Musician’s Poll of Ireland’s top 100 albums so it was obviously just my ears that Ann had failed to impress. The second time I heard the album the percussion which had made that first journey into ‘We’re Smiling’ so unsettling suddenly made some kind of sense. There’s something about the sound of the drums on this album which is fascinating; ‘lumbering’ is the description used in the ‘We’re Smiling’ press release and that about sums it up. The drum sound was the thing that kept my attention all the way throughout that second listen to the album and the fact that no less than three different drummers are used on the album makes this even more surprising. It sounds like the work of one musician not three different ones. The next time I listened to the album it was Ann’s vocals that struck me; on songs such as ‘Imelda’ she turns in a strong vocal performance, as I said earlier I wouldn’t have guessed she was part of the Irish scene at all, there are not many female singers who can sound tough yet vulnerable all in the space of one song but Ann does this with ease. It’s one of the attractions in her vocals. It was also about this time that her melodies started to eat into me. Maybe there was just too much to take in on that first listen as now it seems amazing that the tunes Ann writes didn’t stay with me after just one play. Now I can’t get them out of my mind. Ann Scott has created an album where there is truly something new to discover each time you listen to it. For me it started with those drums then Ann’s vocals took over which in turn led me to having to listen to her melodies over and over. Just now the sound of the guitars scattered throughout the songs are capturing my attention for the first time. For once there are no reference points, no obvious influences; Ann Scott has created a unique sound of her own with ‘We’re Smiling’, and on this evidence she has every right to have the biggest smile on her face.

Track Listing:-
1 Hot Day
2 Mountain
3 Feather For Feather
4 Down At The Parlour
5 She: Jubilee
6 Imelda
7 Jealousy
8 100 Dances, 1,000 Stars
9 For A Dream
10 Skin Deep
11 Shark Water
12 Farewell Henrietta

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