NATALIE MER­CHANT

Par­adise is There: The New Tigerlily Record­ings ★★★ None­such

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - JOE BREEN

“Songs have new life breathed into them ev­ery time they are sung,” says Natalie Mer­chant. “Time has changed them as much as it has changed me.” That is the premise be­hind her rere­cord­ing of her 20-year-old de­but al­bum, Tigerlily. While a record­ing is a mo­ment in time sub­ject to the va­garies of pop­u­lar cul­ture, Tigerlily has lost lit­tle of its brood­ing power. And yet this new col­lec­tion has value. In 1995, Mer­chant was still young, keen to es­tab­lish her own voice af­ter 12 years with 10,000 Ma­ni­acs. The 2015 ver­sion is sea­soned by life’s vi­cis­si­tudes, in­clud­ing di­vorce and moth­er­hood. Some ar­range­ments are laden with strings, oth­ers sim­pli­fied, recog­nis­able but dif­fer­ent. The same goes for Mer­chant’s voice, deeper, shaped by ex­pe­ri­ence but still dis­tinc­tive and beau­ti­ful. Fas­ci­nat­ing for the fan, but not es­sen­tial.

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