Helene Greenwood - Exquisitely Hopeless

  by Lisa Torem

published: 22 / 12 / 2016

Helene Greenwood - Exquisitely Hopeless

Label: Washaway Records
Format: CD
Exquisite and rich second album from Dover-based singer-songwriter, Helene Greenwood


Dover’s Helene Greenwood began writing songs at the age of ten. She gets her inspiration from horror films, literature and nature. Her first album, ‘Collectable You’, was recorded in a week, but in her new album, ‘Exquisitely Hopeless,’ time disappears completely and in a sickeningly fast-paced world what could be more desirable? ‘This is the News Today’ is eerie and ambient but solidly executed with bright piano. “I’m sorry you’re still gone,” she sings repeatedly, like the strains of a guilty conscience. She toys with the phrase like a child with a new yo-yo as the progressions boldly build. Her voice is clear, translucent like a sterling silver spoon striking Bohemian crystal. “Highways zooming past/You can hear it at night,” she purrs on ‘Flat Roof House.’ A slick bass line rises over her narrative, followed by orchestral hits and an intrepid drum. Greenwood’s range stars; she expresses herself in hushed whispers and silky glissandos. The ballad culminates in blinding bleeps and soaring harmonies. ‘Dream Horses’ has an ethereal/ghostly intro. Her soprano is bolstered by repetitive, glassy echoes. There’s a lovely, rubato refrain, where, again, she uses fully her extensive range. The underlying melody also carries a unique timbre. “Can you find what you’re looking for?” she inquires in ‘Crystal Vase.’ The rest of the song luxuriates in fluid imagery, escalating vocals, as the bass erupts in torrid flashes. “In her doll’s house by the sea,” she sings at the beginning of ‘Madame Marina’. The magical fairy tale character, inspired by literature, is supported well by illustrious bass, brass and percussion. The result is an alluring, other-worldly confection with transformative harmonies. Greenwood turns the American classic, ‘Say a Little Prayer,’ penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David on its backside Anyone familiar with the original will marvel at the ingenuity of this rendition. In ‘Ripples,’ Greenwood trades phrases with a swerving, electronic palette. She’s at once pensive, joyful, effusive and full of yearning. The jazz outro is a breath of fresh air. ‘Travelling Inside and Travelling Out’ is bittersweet and haunting. On ‘To Live in the Moon,’ her enunciation and tenderness is unparalleled. The collection ends with the subtle ‘Chorale.’ Helene Greenwood’s exquisite journey invites more hope than she may have bargained for.

Track Listing:-

1 This Is the News Today
2 Flat Roof House
3 Dream Horses
4 Crystal Vase
5 Exquisitely Hopeless
6 Madame marina
7 I Say A Little Prayer
8 Ripples
9 ... Travelling Inside and Travelling Out
10 To Live In The Moon
11 Chorale

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