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Katie Melua - Album No. 8

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 26 / 11 / 2020

Katie Melua - Album No. 8
Label: BMG
Format: CD


Sophisticated eighth album from Katie Melua influenced by her marriage break-up and which features the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra

Katie Melua has just produced her eighth album in a career that began when she was in her teens and fresh out of the BRIT school. Rather unoriginally titled simply 'Album No. 8', this record shows Katie, who was born in the then Soviet Republic of Georgia, has matured into a surprisingly adventurous songwriter. After all, when she made her name, she was hardly the most cutting-edge performer with her sweetly sung debut single, 'The Closest Thing to Crazy' and the companion first album, 'Call Off the Search'. These records were produced by the brilliant and commercially expert Mike Batt and championed by Terry Wogan and they instantly positioned Katie as the queen of easy-listening pop - just as they were intended to. But there has always been far more to Katie Melua than that. Her 2016 album 'In Winter' was recorded with the Gori Women's Choir in Georgia - and Katie has said that she felt emboldened to develop her skills in new directions from the experience of making this album. Now 36, Katie moved to the UK as a child after her heart surgeon father was recruited by the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. She has never, however, forgotten her Georgian roots and the new album pairs the singer with the Georgian Philharmonic plus British producer Leo Abrahams who is a noted film composer. Abrahams says he sees his rich string and brass parts on the album as a Greek chorus commenting on Katie's intimate lyrics. Certainly, the effect is powerful and the production is excellent. Most of the ten original songs on the album are ballads and many are poignant as Katie wrote them as her seven-year marriage to motorcycle champion James Toseland was coming to an end. At times, there is a palpable sense of romantic fatigue but Katie's divorce doesn't dominate entirely. Her curiosity had been piqued by reading about traditional English and Scottish songs in Bob Dylan's 'Chronicles' and in 'English Manner' Katie blends folksy images and country-soul very artfully. In 'Leaving the Mountain' and 'Heading Home', a piano ballad that recalls Winter's warm melancholy, Katie has said she is yearning for the simplicity and beauty of her Black Sea childhood. 'Album No. 8' does have a tranquil feel with Abrahams' superbly sophisticated production. But 'Voices in the Night' is a track that adds a welcome frivolity with powerful jazzy saxophone enhancing Katie's strong performance. It is good that Katie Melua has tried something a little different on this new record. She is a force to be reckoned with in the music world and she deserves all the praise. 'Album No. 8' has already won from a wide range of critics.

Track Listing:-
1 A Love Like That
2 English Manner
3 Leaving the Mountain
4 Joy
5 Voices in the Night
6 Maybe I Dreamt It
7 Heading Home
8 Your Longing Is Gone
9 Airtime
10 Remind Me to Forget

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