Blood & Bone (www.joannawallfisch.com)
Joanna Wallfisch often creates a shiny musical surface on which the listener may safely glide over her lyrics’ emotional barbs and snags, so much of her work could be dismissed as merely pleasant, when in fact her words can generate gripping undertows. This fourth album from the US-based English singer, song-writer and multiinstrumentalist continues her distinctive oeuvre of melding jazz, pop, folk, cabaret and contemporary art-music elements. On The Shadow of Your Ghost the music sheds any skin of blitheness to amplify an account of a poisonous relationship, and in fact the album is almost a song-cycle about the healing of a broken heart. She uses exceptional musicians (Elias Meister’s guitar solo on Lullaby Girl will singe your ear-hairs), and her attractive singing contains an unusual mix of clipped diction and exposed-nerve vulnerability.